After struggling to find his footing in six years in the Major Leagues, the Cleveland Guardians become the next team to take a chance on outfielder Anthony Alford by signing him to a minor league contract.
In college, Alford put on a show and became a 3rd round draft pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, despite being widely seen as a first-round talent. Alford fell in the draft due to the fact that baseball was not his only focus at the collegiate level. During his time at Ole Miss, Alford appeared in three football games for the Rebels at Defensive Back, as well. He also returned three punts, showing flashes of athleticism and speed that he used to strengthen his baseball game. MLB teams worried about whether or not he was fully focused on baseball, but he was too good for the Jays to pass up on in the third round.
After being drafted, Alford spent nine years with the Blue Jays organization. From 2017 to 2019, he was constantly being shuffled back and forth between the minor leagues and the major leagues. In his major league time with Toronto, the Mississippi native never hit over .200. Following his stint in Canada, the outfielder has spent his last three seasons in Pittsburgh, appearing in just 56 total games for the Pirates. In those 56 games, Alford had a batting average of .228. The progression in his game behind the plate is evident, but he’ll need to show more if he wants to find a real role on the Guardians.
With Steven Kwan, Myles Straw, Josh Naylor, Oscar Mercado, Amed Rosario, and Richie Palacios, it will definitely be a challenge for Anthony Alford to find his spot back in the Major League. At 27 years old, Alford could still be seen as some sort of a project for the Guardians, but it will be interesting to see what his ceiling truly is. He has the speed and the power to be an impactful player, but he still struggles to put his bat on the ball consistently.
If roster spots open and Alford can stay healthy, he could find himself back up with the Guardians in no time. This move strengthens the depth from the Guardians’ perspective and if Alford can live up to his potential, he may be another one of Cleveland’s big pieces in the future.
*This article was posted by a student from Solon High School doing his Senior Project with Cleveland Sports Talk*