Anthony Joseph Alford (pronounced “ALL-ferd”)...Attended Petal (MS) High School, where he was quarterback, in addition to playing baseball...Recorded 2,058 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns as a senior, in addition to 1,731 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns, earning a spot in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl...Attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where he played football...Was the starting quarterback for five games in 2012...Passed for 664 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 329 yards on 105 carries and six touchdowns...Due to a coaching change at Southern Miss, transferred to the University of Mississippi...Chose to pursue baseball on a full-time basis on September 30, 2014...Participates with former teammate Curtis Granderson, former Blue Jay Fred Lewis and other professional players in Mississippi Dream Weekend, a camp that provides hundreds of kids, ages six through 18, with the opportunity to spend time with professional athlete mentors, annually in January.
Set career highs in every offensive category during his fifth big league season...Made 28 starts in left field, five in center field and one in right field with the Pirates...Was the Opening Day starter in center field on 4/1 at Chicago (NL)... Went hitless in his first 19 at-bats (15 Ks) before collecting his first hit as a pinch hitter on 4/15 vs. San Diego...Went 2-for24 with four walks in 11 games with the Bucs before being designated for assignment on 4/21...Cleared waivers and was assigned to the alternate training site on 4/25...Was assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis on 5/1 to begin the minor league season...Between 5/26 and 6/20, ranked among all qualified professional baseball players (MLB included) with a .556 on-base percentage (2nd), .407 average (3rd) and 1.296 OPS (5th)...Hit .415 (22-for-53) with four doubles, four home runs, 12 RBI, 17 walks, a .563 on-base percentage and a 1.280 OPS in 18 games during the month of June, while reaching base safely in all 18 games...Had four hits (two home runs) and five RBI on 8/6 at Iowa - his final game with Indianapolis.. Made 25 starts in center field and 24 in left field while playing with Indianapolis...Was ranked second in the Triple-A East League in OPS (1.013) and slugging percentage (.593), third in OBP (.420) and seventh in batting (.307) at the time of his promotion to the Pirates on 8/7...Made the start in left field on 8/7 at Cincinnati and had a career-high three hits... Was placed on the 10-day injured list on 8/15 (retro to 8/13) with a lower back strain...Was reinstated on 8/23...Connected off Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner for his first home run on 8/24...Had first career two-homer game on 9/3 at Chicago (NL)...Tied career-high with three hits on 10/1 vs. Cincinnati... Hit .266 (29-for-109) with six doubles, a triple, five home runs and 11 RBI in 38 games after rejoining the Pirates on 8/7.
Hit .214 (6-for-28) with two home runs and seven RBI in 18 games with the Blue Jays and Pirates...Began season with Toronto, where he made four starts in left field and two in center field...Homered off Tampa Bay’s John Curtiss while playing left field on 8/16...Was designated for assignment by Toronto on 8/20...Was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh on 8/27 and joined the Pirates on 9/1...Went 2-for-4 with a home run in his first start with the Pirates on 9/2 vs. Cubs...Tripled and had two RBI on 9/4 vs. Cincinnati (game 2)...Made three starts in center field and one in left field while playing with the Pirates...Suffered a fractured right elbow after colliding with the center-field wall on 9/5...Was placed on the 10-day injured list on 9/6...Underwent right elbow surgery on 9/8 to repair a fractured olecranon (elbow) at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh; surgery was performed by Dr. Patrick DeMeo and Dr. Greg Altman...Was transferred to the 45-day injured list on 9/21... Was reinstated from I.L. on 11/1.
Batted .259 with a .754 OPS in 76 games for Triple-A Buffalo...Recalled on April 2 and made his season debut that night vs. BAL...Optioned on April 4 and recalled again on Sept. 3...Hit his 1st career home run on Sept. 23 vs. BAL, a walk-off homer in the 15th inning off of Ryan Eades...Became the 3rd player all-time to have his 1st career home run result in a walk-off win in the 15th or later, joining Old Hoss Radbourn (1882) and Valmy Thomas (1957)...Was placed on Buffalo's injured list from June 26-Aug. 6, and from Aug. 17-25.
Recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on May 5 and Sept. 17 ... Made his season debut on May 6 at TB and went 1-for-4 with his 1st career steal and 1st career run ... Started the season on the DL with a right hamstring strain ... On May 12 vs. BOS, recorded his 1st career RBI with a 4th-inning single.
Assigned to Double-A New Hampshire to begin the season ... Was recalled from the Fisher Cats on May 19 after hitting .325 through 33 games...Made his MLB debut that night in Baltimore with a start in left field (0-2, K) ... Recorded his 1st career hit on May 23 at MIL, a pinch-hit double off Rob Scahill in the 7th inning ... Went 1-for-8 in four games with the Blue Jays before being placed on the DL with a left wrist hamate fracture on May 24 ... Hit .310 (76-for-245) with 19-XBH and 18 stolen bases in 68 games for New Hampshire before earning a promotion on Sept. 1 to Triple-A Buffalo...Went 4-for-12 with a double in three games for the Bisons ... Was named an MiLB Organizational All-Star at the end of the year.
Was invited to Major League spring training on January 12, 2016 and later reassigned to minor league camp on March 12...Assigned to the Dunedin Blue Jays to open the 2016 minor league season...On June 10, suffered a concussion after colliding with a teammate in the outfield, and needed to be stretchered off the field...Returned from injury on June 22... After the season, was assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League...On Oct. 31, was named an AFL All-Star....Added to the 40-man roster after the season (protection from the Rule 5 draft)...Appeared in 23 games for Mesa during the Fall League season, and hit .253 with three home runs and 15 RBI...Named an AFL Rising Star at the end of the season.