The Blue Jays are promoting top outfield prospect Anthony Alford to the Majors this afternoon, reports Jason Munz of the Hattiesburg American. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reported yesterday that the team has been debating a promotion for Alford.
Alford, 22, entered the season as a consensus Top 100 prospect in the game, topping out at No. 55 on the list of ESPN’s Keith Law. His early play has done nothing but further that status, as Alford was off to an impressive .325/.411/.455 start to the season with three homers and nine stolen bases through 33 games with Double-A New Hampshire. Baseball America recently bumped him to No. 34 on their mid-May update of the league’s top 100 prospects.
Of course, it’s not clear that Alford’s promotion will be long-term in nature. The Jays issued a two-game suspension to Kevin Pillar yesterday, so they’re a bit short-handed in the outfield at the moment. Alford will give manager John Gibbons another option in the outfield, but it’s also possible that he could return to New Hampshire once Pillar is reinstated. The Jays did promote outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. in place of Pillar yesterday, but outfielder Darrell Ceciliani suffered a shoulder injury in last night’s game and could potentially be looking at DL time.
The Jays probably don’t want Alford to occupy a bench role when he could be gaining vital everyday at-bats in the minors, and there doesn’t appear to be an everyday role in the Majors unless there’s an injury that the club has yet to announce. Ezequiel Carrera has hit well in left field thus far, while Pillar has been sensational in center. Jose Bautista got off to a slow start in right field, but he’s hitting .289/.394/.542 over his past 23 games.