There’s a lot to be excited about with the Phillies right now. Over the past two months of the season, we’ve seen what the future holds. Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr, J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola all look like the real deal, and will play big roles going into 2018 and beyond.
But there’s one name that isn’t mentioned nearly as much as the others – Jorge Alfaro.
Alfaro was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade in 2015, along with current Phillies Jake Thompson, Jerad Eickhoff, and Williams.
Since being called up earlier this year, Alfaro has appeared in 26 games, hitting to a tune of .293 with a .333 on base percentage and a .444 slugging percentage. He has four home runs, some of them absolute bombs, and 11 RBI. He’s gotten the bulk of the starts since he made his first appearance this year.
His propensity to get on base makes “El Oso” very valuable, especially at the bottom half of the lineup when he can turn the order over.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some things Alfaro can work on. For starters, he strikes out a decent amount – 32 times in 105 plate appearances before the start of Tuesday’s game – and he’s only walked twice. If he can correct those two areas, and I think he will with a full season under his belt, he’ll be an even more potent threat at the plate.
In the field, Alfaro does a decent job, having committed only two errors in 218 chances. He’s also allowed 11 stolen bases while only catching three runners. That equates to a 21% caught stealing percentage. The league average is 27% while the top catchers in the league are well above that mark.
Catcher is one of the hardest, most overlooked positions in the majors. A good catcher can go a long way. Just look at the success the Phillies had during the tenure of Carlos Ruiz. As good of a job that Cameron Rupp did behind the plate, it was clear from the jump that he was not going to be the future for the Phillies. Having Alfaro develop with the young pitching staff will give the Phillies some stability.
As far as the backup catcher goes, I think Andrew Knapp has done enough to warrant a spot on the roster next year. He’s posted a respectable .253 average. Even though he only has 13 RBI through 54 games, I don’t view that as a concern. His goal is to get on base and let the guys at the top of the order drive him in.
Alfaro still ranks as the number five prospect in the Phillies organization. It’s been exciting to see what he’s been able to do since he’s been called up, and it appears that he’ll play as big of a role as the guys who are getting more attention. The future looks bright for Alfaro.
Photo: Bryan Green (via Flickr)