New Outlook Serves Anthony Alford At Triple-A
Back in action after a right hamstring strain delayed the start of his season, outfielder Anthony Alford was prioritizing the mental side of the game at Triple-A Buffalo rather than focusing on anything physical as he looked to make the jump to Toronto.
"Mainly, it’s just keeping the positive mindset," said Alford, "because at the end of the day, no matter how how far along I’ve come playing defense, or baserunning, if my mindset isn’t right, then it’s not going to matter.
"I’ve got to be in the right state of mind to be successful, and if I'm not in the right state of mind, I feel like I don't really give myself a chance.”
The 23-year-old Alford certainly seemed to find his groove during an impressive big league camp this spring. Everything he did on the field, from chasing balls in center field to running the bases to swinging the bat drew praise from the coaching staff.
Even though Alford debuted in the majors last year—where he suffered a broken hamate bone in his wrist—and finished the campaign at Triple-A, he was always a long shot to make the Opening Day roster, even before the injury sidelined him.
The Blue Jays have a glut of outfielders in the majors and at Buffalo, and a few dominoes would need to fall before Alford, a 2012 third-rounder out of Petal (Miss.) High, would be next man up.
Until opportunity comes, Alford is left to keep building on his tantalizing spring look, when he went 10-for-31 with six extra-base hits and a stolen base in 13 games.
"I feel more comfortable playing the (outfield) corners on defense," said Alford as he reflected on his spring, "(and) more confident offensively and on the basepaths by being more aggressive, whether it's going first to third, turning a double into a triple or a single into a double. (I'm) just pulling the trigger when it's an opportunity for me to steal a base.
"I just feel way more comfortable because I know my swing more, I know my body, the way it works and the way it's supposed to work."
Vlad Jr., Eloy Jimenez Could Be 2019's Version Of Acuna and Soto
Rookies like Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna Jr. mesmerized baseball in 2018. And the game may have a sequel on its hands once Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez finally arrive.
>> Third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. set a Double-A New Hampshire franchise record for RBIs in April with his 19th on April 24. Through 17 games he hit .353/.407/.529 with two home runs and 22 RBIs.
>> Canadian outfielder Dalton Pompey also joined Buffalo after starting the season on the disabled list with a wrist injury.