|The outfield cometh
With the first Blue Jays spring training game scheduled less than a month away on Feb.23, as it sits today, barring any FA signings or trades, the outfield is set up as Granderson, Pillar, Grichuk with Carrera/Pearce off the bench. It's unlikely that there will be any changes to this line up, but never say never.
At a recent Pitchtalks event, both Wilner and Davidi speculated that both Hernandez and Alford should start the season in Buffalo. They should be seers, because they both will be joining Pompey in creating a young developing outfield core for the coming years.
I should note that I like what Shapiro has done here. In the absence of acquiring Stanton, Trout and Harper, he has put together an outfield that doesn't preclude the possibility of calling up any of the youngsters midseason, if they are out performing their big league counterparts. It allows the Jays to improve the outfield over the 2017 version without committing to any one player long term. It gives time to get a proper evaluation of those triple A players and give them the needed development time.
Proper evaluation because , in the case of Dalton Pompey, they need to monitor his performance after 2 concussions that occurred within a year.It took him until May 20th,2017 to get out of the "brain fog". Added to that, the knee injury suffered once he started rehab. He says he's good to go, but the real test will be his play in real games. Questions need to be answered. Any lingering effects of those concussions? Is the knee 100%? Can he return to his previous form after all that time off? This is Pompey's last option year and although rumour has it that Shapiro doesn't rate him as highly as Anthopolous did, he needs to know what Pompey can do, before he cuts him loose or makes him a part of the future Jays outfield.
Teoscar Hernandez is another player in need of more development. He still has 2 option years left and while he was called up last September posted a nice ops of .908 and a wRC+ of 132 but that K% of 37.9 was down right ugly. He's 25. He has the tools. They just need to be refined. Let's hope Buffalo does him good and he goes beyond being a AAAA player.
Anthony Alford also has 2 more option years left. The story has been told enough. 2 sports. Football didn't work out so he needs to catch up with reps in any place he can get them. Reports of his leadership and work ethic to improve, have impressed his coaches. And while rumours of post concussion symptoms from his football days swirl in the background, his play on the field doesn't reflect any of those problems. He has still has a high ceiling because of his exceptional athletic ability. If he puts it together, he's the centre fielder of the future.
There's additional depth for the big club in Ian Parmley, Dwight Smith Jr. and non roster invitee Roemon Fields.
2017, it appears, should be the low point for the Jays outfield going forward.
February 23rd isn't far away at all.