Third positive? Two of the best outfield prospects in the Jaysí current system, project with similar tools and skill sets to Raines. They are both high draft picks from June 2012, D.J. Davis and Anthony Alford. Raines will be able to help them tremendously. Raines knows their issues on and off the field. He was a second baseman, not a natural outfielder. He had a below average outfield arm, but it made him have to work harder, charging base hits with quick release and hitting the cutoff man.
The Jaysí young prospects will listen to a man with a similar background who has been there, done it, made mistakes and found redemption along the way. It adds to his credibility with the message.
Alford could be the main prospect to get inspiration from Rainesí personal story. The 18-year-old from rural Mississippi dropped to the third round of the í12 draft despite five-tool major-league potential. The reason was he was committed to Southern Miss to be their quarterback. The Jays took him as the best athlete available and signed him only after they agreed to let him play football.
How did that work out? In December, after his Golden Eagles football team went 0-12 and he lost his starting QB role, Alford was arrested on campus for aggravated assault, charges that have since been reduced to conspiracy to possess a weapon on school property. Still not good. He has since transferred to Ole Miss for 2013, but clearly, his troubled future now lies in baseball.
Raines is the perfect mentor to bring into the Jaysí organization as a confidant for Alford, whether this was Anthopoulosís intent or not. He also has a troubled history. After two Expos callups in 1979-80, Raines broke into the NL with a bang at age 21. He finished second to Fernando Valenzuela as rookie of the year in a strike-shortened í81 season, stealing 71 bases in 88 games.