To cap off a whirlwind day behind the plate for the Phillies, the team is reportedly calling up catching prospect Jorge Alfaro from AA Reading.
It seems our own George Stockburger was right earlier when he said Jorge Aflaro was more likely to be called up to the Phillies than Nick Williams or J.P. Crawford. After trading Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers Thursday afternoon, the Phillies are reportedly promoting catcher Jorge Alfaro to the majors. This promotion comes despite the fact the Phillies received veteran backstop A.J. Ellis as part of the Ruiz trade.
At first glance, it seems puzzling that the Phillies would have Alfaro skip right over AAA to the major-leagues. However, Alfaro is already on the 40-man roster, which means the Phillies don’t have to use an extra roster spot for the promotion. Alfaro is most likely there just in case Cameron Rupp gets injured.
In all likelihood, Alfaro’s stint in the major leagues will be short. The 23-year old has never played above AAA and has spent the past two years playing AA ball. He will most likely return to Reading once Ellis joins the Phillies in New York this weekend.
The Phillies could have used this trade as an opportunity to give Alfaro or Andrew Knapp sustained time in the majors. However, general manager Matt Klentak was adamant that Ellis was a part of the trade. This way, both Knapp and Alfaro could get more at-bats in the minors. Klentak explained this to reporters, saying “Both our double A and triple A teams are in pennant races and we believe it’s important for them to continue to get meaningful at-bats and play in meaningful games.”
The Phillies acquired Alfaro in the Cole Hamels trade, with some considering Alfaro the best prospect in the deal. He is now the fourth player to reach the majors from the trade after Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, and Jake Thompson.
Alfaro has been solid for the AA Reading Fightin’ Phils this year, putting up a .279/.322/.444 hitting split with 13 home runs in 89 games. Baseball America had the following to say about Alfaro in this year’s midseason update:
"Yet another piece of the Hamels deal, Alfaro has upped his game this year at Double-A. He missed time with an oblique strain, but when healthy has shown his trademark power at the plate and athleticism behind it. He has a well above-average throwing arm as well, and has nabbed 45 percent of runners this year with Reading."
Despite Alfaro’s limited time in the majors, it provides yet another glance into the Phillies’ future. There is a chance Pete Mackanin gives Alfaro at least one at-bat. Just seeing Alfaro take a step in the batter’s box would provide a glimmer of hope. When your team is rebuilding, seeing prospects reach the majors is what keeps you going.