Anthony Alford scouting report: Anthony Alford is a 6'2", 210 lb. two sport athlete who has committed to play football and baseball at Southern Mississippi. mymlbdraft.com has Alford going to the Rangers at #39 in their mock draft. In Baseball America's mock draft, they list Alford as someone the Rangers could grab at #29, though they have him falling out of the first round. Minor League Ball's community mock draft had Alford going at #90 to the D-Backs. Keith Law's top 100 has Alford at #48, and BA's top 500 has Alford at #36.
Alford is a righthanded hitter and thrower whose top tool is his speed -- ESPN grades his speed at 65, while BA calls him a 70 runner. Some reports have Alford as having a plus arm (he's a quarterback in football, so you'd think his arm would be a plus), and he's also seen as having significant power potential. To invoke the lazy comps I've used before in this series, you could think of Alford as being similar to the Rangers' 2010 third round draft pick Jordan Akins -- very raw, with big questions about how his hit tool will develop, but with five tool potential.
What makes the situation with Alford tricky is that he's said he plans on playing at Southern Miss, even if he's drafted high. Last year, you could take Alford in the 3rd or 4th round and try to moneywhip him, the way the Pirates did with Josh Bell, who was also supposedly dead set on attending college. With the spending limits now in place, the ability to moneywhip a later draft pick is gone, and using a high pick on Alford is risky because, if you don't sign him, you can't re-allocate that slot's figure to other draftees...if you don't sign a pick, you lose the right to spend the money.
I think with Alford, one of two things happens...either a team with multiple early selections uses a relatively high pick on him, and then uses other early selections on players who will sign for significantly less than slot, so they can give Alford a heftier amount in order to forego college, or else Alford drops out of the early rounds altogether, with no one wanting to waste a pick on a player they think he can't sign. The Rangers have five picks in the first two rounds of the draft, so if they are confident that Alford will sign for an above-slot figure that they are comfortable with, they could decide to load all their eggs in that basket, and take players who will sign for less in the supplemental and second rounds.