The Philadelphia Phillies saw one of their newest minor leaguers ranked as the 3rd best catching prospect in baseball.
MLB Pipeline, the prospect ranking service of Major League Baseball through the MLB.com web service, just came out with its ranking of the Top 10 catching prospects in the game. Jorge Alfaro, received as part of the package from the Texas Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade, was ranked 3rd on their list.
In the synopsis on Alfaro accompanying the rankings release, MLB.com’s Mike Rosenbaum wrote:
“…Alfaro stands out for his raw power and arm strength, and he’s arguably the best athlete on this list. His game still needs a lot of refinement — he’s overly aggressive at the plate and raw as a receiver — but there’s still time for him to develop into an everyday catcher.“
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A year ago, Alfaro was MLB.com’s top catching prospect in the game. Dropping to #3 doesn’t mean that he is seen as any less a prospect. The two players who finished ahead of him this time around, Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs and Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees, are simply considered as having higher ceilings at this time.
Back in November, Baseball America came out with their ranking of the Phillies’ Top 10 prospects, and listed Alfaro at #5 behind shortstop J.P. Crawford, outfielder Nick Williams, pitcher Jake Thompson, and catcher Andrew Knapp. The Pipeline evaluators have Knapp back at the 18th-ranked spot on their Phils’ prospect list.
Alfaro has been considered a rising catching prospect in the game for a few years now. He is extremely athletic, possesses a strong throwing arm, and has plenty of power. In fact, that combination of tools could find him eventually moved to a corner outfield spot.
Injuries have cost Alfaro developmental time behind the plate, and it will be interesting to see who emerges as the actual Phillies catcher of the future, he or Knapp, or someone else in the organization such as Deivi Grullon.