Could newly added outfielder Anthony Alford make an impact for the Pittsburgh Pirates? It is worth finding out for the Bucs.
On August 27th, the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed outfielder Anthony Alford off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. As recently as 2018, Alford was a top-100 prospect in all of baseball. Now he is looking to make an impact with the Pirates.
Alford brings elite speed to the table for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thanks in part to this, Alford is a strong defender in center field. Without a doubt, he is the best defensive center fielder currently on the Pirate roster.
Alford’s sprint speed ranks in the 94th percentile of baseball. With this elite speed, in addition to being a great defender, Alford is also a great base runner. Pirate fans saw this on Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds when he turned what would have been a double for most hitters, if not a single, into a triple, while also scoring on a wild pitch that did not even get past the catcher.
Offensively is where Alford has struggled in his career. Entering play on Friday, Alford had hit for a .163/.202/.287 slash line to go with a wRC+ of 26 in 84 plate appearances across 49 games.
Since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates, Alford has flashed the offensive tools that used to make scout drool. In 12 plate appearances with the Pirates, Alford has three hits. These three hits include a home run and a triple.
Obviously, what Alford has done with the Pittsburgh Pirates comes in a super small sample size. That said, he has flashed some good things. Furthermore, it’s not like the Pirates currently have a slam dunk answer for center field.
Dating back to before they traded Jarrod Dyson to the Chicago White Sox, Cole Tucker had been getting the majority of the at-bats in center field. However, Tucker has struggled offensively and defensively.
The remainder of the 2020 season should be about one thing and one thing only for the Pittsburgh Pirates – the future. Is Alford part of the team’s future? That is a question that does not currently have an answer. However, during the rest of the month of September this question could potentially be answered. But in order to answer that question, Alford would need to get an extended look in the outfield.
The lack of a sure fire option for center field is as big a reason as any for the Pirates to give Alford an extended look. So is the team being completely out of it and looking toward the future. Alford has all of the tools needed to be a good center fielder at the MLB level, now is as good a time as any for him to get an extended look.