After starting the season on the injured list outfielder Anthony Alford has returned to the Pittsburgh Pirates
Prior to the start of Thursday night’s game at Wrigley Field, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a roster move. This roster move saw the club activate outfielder Anthony Alford off the injured list. To make room for Alford on the active roster utility man Hoy Park was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Throughout his professional career Alford has struggled with the swing-and-miss. In 236 career MLB plate appearances, Alford has hit for a .208/.275/.370 slash line, with a wRC+ of 72 and an isolated slugging (ISO) of .162.
While these numbers could be passable for a defensive first fourth outfielder, Alford simply swings and misses too often to ever gain any MLB traction. Alford has struck out in 37.7% of his MLB plate appearances. This is an absolutely dreadful number.
It appears the Pirates are willing to give Alford yet another look. He is penciled into left field and slated to be the team’s leadoff batter on Friday night. It is a bold move to put a player with Alford’s track record at the top of the lineup.
Prior to getting injured in spring training, Alford found himself struggling with his usual woes. In Grapefruit League action he was 1-for-13 with 9 strikeouts. Before getting hurt it appeared to be far from a given that Alford would crack the Opening Day roster. To be honest, if Greg Allen was healthy, even now, Alford may not be on the major league roster.
It will be interesting to see what kind of a leash Alford has with the Pirates. Hopefully, it will not be very long. Ben Gamel is off to a strong start this season and Jake Marisnick is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. Additionally, there are multiple outfield prospects at Triple-A Indianapolis who should get a look before Alford, let alone if Alford struggles.
With the Pittsburgh Pirates this season Park had accumulated 15 plate appearances. Park had made appearances at right field, second base, and shortstop. He had hit for a .214/.267/.286 slash line to go with a 62 wRC+ and a whopping 7 strikeouts (46.7% strikeout rate).