BALTIMORE – The injury-depleted Toronto Blue Jays called one of their top prospects up to the big-leagues Friday after seeing yet another player go down.
Anthony Alford, who ranked 34th on Baseball America’s recently-released list of the game’s best prospects, joined the Blue Jays in Baltimore Friday for what may be a short initial promotion to the MLB level.
The Blue Jays’ outfield has been hit hard in recent days. The club called on Darrell Ceciliani Monday after Steve Pearce hit the disabled list with a calf strain, and their outfield depth was further tested Thursday when Kevin Pillar was suspended two games for using a homophobic slur.
Dwight Smith Jr. joined the team Thursday to replace Pillar on the roster, but then Ceciliani injured his shoulder. He’ll likely need a stint on the disabled list, and Pillar’s not eligible to play until Saturday, which creates a need for Alford—at least for now.
Alford has been playing for the Blue Jays’ double-A New Hampshire affiliate, where he has a .325/.411/.455 batting line with three home runs and nine stolen bases in 33 games. Before the 2017 season he had never played above Class-A, but he has impressed early on this year, jumping 25 spots on Baseball America’s top prospects list.
The 22-year-old was initially selected in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Blue Jays, who signed him for a creative $750,000 deal that allowed him to play football for University of Mississippi during the off-season. By 2014 he was fully committed to baseball and he has gradually improved his prospect stock since.
The Blue Jays’ position player depth has already been tested with injuries to Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin.