Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #2 Catcher Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro, image- Jay Floyd

Acquired as part of the the return for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman from Texas in 2015, catcher Jorge Alfaro quickly became one of the Phillies' most promising prospects. With a powerful bat and outstanding skills behind the dish, Alfaro could become a fast moving performer for his new organization.

Originally signed by the Rangers for a reported $1.3 million in 2010 at the age of 16, the Colombia native would make his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League that same year. In 48 games, the righty hitting Alfaro posted a .221 average and a home run along with 23 RBI.

The following year, with Class A short-season Spokane, the talented catcher tallied a .300 average with six homers and 23 RBI in 45 contests.

In 2012 with full season Class A level Hickory, he batted .261 with five home runs, 34 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 74 games.

A repeat campaign with Hickory was in order the following year, although he played a handful of games for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. In 113 combined games, Alfaro put together a .265/.346/.463 slash line, also swiping 18 bags. He'd also spend most of his 2014 with Myrtle Beach, earning a promotion to Double-A Frisco for the closing month of the season. In 121 total games that year, Alfaro batted .261 with 17 homers and 87 RBI.

In 2015 Alfaro opened his campaign with Double-A Frisco, but missed considerable time with a broken ankle that required surgery in June.  In 49 games, he hit .253 with five home runs and 21 RBI.

After joining the Phillies organization, Alfaro played in three rehab games with the rookie level Gulf Coast League team and took part in the Florida Instructional League following the regular season.

The six-foot-two 225-pounder posted a .262 average with a homer and three RBI in 13 games with La Guaira in Venezuelan Winter League over that following off-season.

Last season, Aflaro sported a .285 batting average while slugging 15 home runs and driving in 67 runs with Double-A Reading, though he would miss time with an oblique strain, playing in just 97 minor league games.  Honored as an Eastern League All-Star with Reading, his production was enough to earn him a big league promotion during the season.  In six games with the Phillies, Alfaro was 2-for-16 (.125 avg).

The 23-year-old features big time bat speed and a smooth swing. He strikes out quite a bit, but with an ability to drive the ball to all fields, as Alfaro progresses, watch out for his developing power. The Phils will want to see him take more pitches and build better pitch recognition abilities this year.

Despite a pair of double-digit steal seasons to his credit in the minors, it doesn't appear that speed will be a major part of Alfaro's offensive game, as he has swiped just 11 bases over the past three seasons.  He is faster than most catchers, though, and that sneaky quickness could help Alfaro and his team in some clutch spots on occasion.

On defense, Alfaro is an outstanding backstop with a plus arm and good footwork. He's very athletic and loves being a field general involved in every pitch of a game.  Coaches have cited that Alfaro has taken strides with his receiving since he joined the organization. 

Alfaro, who hates to lose, plays the game with aggression and will be a player that Phillies fans will love to root for, as long as that hard-nosed approach doesn't continue to result in injuries and cost him playing time.

Look for Alfaro, who is in major league spring training, back at the top level of the sport this year.  It is likely, though, that the team will hope for a bit more seasoning at the Triple-A level to start this season. 

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.
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