Hello everyone, after a week off due to that annoying thing called school, I'm back again with a quick look at Anthony Alford. Alford is a toolsy outfielder from Mississippi and was drafted in the 3rd round (112th) in the most recent draft (sound like D.J. Davis anyone?). He reportedly agreed to a signing bonus of almost double the slot value of $424,000 to pry him away from playing baseball at the college level. As most of you know, before the draft Alford was telling teams he had the intention of going to Southern Mississippi University on a football scholarship. He also planned to play baseball at the school but quickly changed his mind at the sight of all the money the Blue Jays were throwing at him. Instead, he played rookie ball during the summer and then went to Southern Miss where he laid an absolute egg at the quarterback position. He completed less than half of his 127 attempts throwing for only two touchdowns.
After the season, Alford compounded his problems by getting in an altercation on campus which lead to an arrest. After originally being charged with aggravated assault, the charges were lowered to "conspiracy to posses a firearm on campus and hindering prosecution". This lead to Alford being released from his scholarship and transferring to Ole Miss. Due to NCAA regulations, Alford will have to be red-shirted this year, hopefully leaving more time to play baseball. In a weird way, the arrest dramatically improved Alford's odds of choosing baseball over football.
Enough about non-baseball things though, Alford's main strength is his crazy speed and what you would assume to be a strong arm due to his QB background.
Here's a video of Alford's speed from a football game in his home state. High school football appears to be a slightly big deal down there:
Wayne Co vs Petal (4) All Alford (via wareagle4004)
Alford played 5 games for the GCL Blue Jays hitting a homer and stealing four bases. His bat speed is reportedly very good and he definitely has the pop to hit home-runs. His ability to hit for average seems to be lagging behind slightly and that's reflected in the super small sample size of 20 plate appearances where he hit at a .167 clip. His arm in the outfield doesn't seem to be a concern and his speed will definitely be a huge asset for covering ground in center field.
Here's the only baseball video of Alford on the internet that I can find. It shows a little bit of everything. Alford's bat speed is the thing that jumps out for me personally. One of the fastest swings I've ever seen on tape:
ANTHONY ALFORD Jr. Under Armour All-America 2011 (via baseballfactoryTV)
It's hard to say what the future holds for Anthony Alford. He should play a solid three months in rookie ball and then go to Ole Miss to sit out the season. I would hazard a guess that Alford will give football one more shot in 2014 and make a decision about his future from there. If he chose baseball at the end of the 2014 football season, he'd still only be 20 years old and have tons of time to polish his skills into becoming a five-tool outfielder (or at least a solid starter).