Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hot Prospect Jorge Alfaro Injured Again

Catcher Jorge Alfaro, rated here at TBOH as the Phillies #6 prospect in our 2016 preseason evaluations, has suffered an oblique injury while playing at AA Reading. 
While the severity of the injury is to be determined, it is likely that Alfaro will be out for a number of weeks.
The injury is particularly unfortunate for Alfaro and the organization as a whole. He was off to a scorching hot and impressive beginning to this season, batting at a .500/.526/.750 slash clip.
Alfaro had a half-dozen extra-base hits, and had driven in 10 runs over his first eight games played. Just yesterday, Alfaro was named as the Eastern League's Player of the Week thanks to his hot start.
Just today, MLB Pipeline named Alfaro and Phillies' prospect shortstop J.P. Crawford, a teammate of Alfaro at Reading, as one of their Top 10 Prospect Combinations in the game.
The club immediately placed him on the 7-day minor league disabled list, retroactive to April 18th, and more information should be forthcoming soon. 
While an oblique strain itself is not career threatening, the fact is that with Alfaro it is just one more in what is becoming a pattern of injuries.
A year ago, Alfaro was unable to play at Reading after coming to the Phils as part of the big haul in the Hamels deal with the Texas Rangers due to a severe ankle injury suffered early last summer. 
He did recover in time to get six plate appearances over three games with the club's rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League.
He has missed time already with that 2015 torn ankle tendon and two other injuries over his 6+ minor league seasons. 
I mean, to stay healthy…all year long.  Stay healthy and keep playing how I play.  Give 100-percent all the time.” 
That was Alfaro in the preseason, as quoted by Jay Floyd at 'Phillies Nation' back on April Fool's Day.
Well, the April Fool's joke is now on Alfaro and the Phillies. A best-case scenario probably has Alfaro back in full action by around June 1st. These oblique injuries always take 3-4 weeks to heal, and a number of players have reinjured themselves trying to come back too soon, including the Phillies' own Cody Asche.
This is no permanent setback for Alfaro or the organization, but it may be a harbinger of future club planning. Alfaro is a serious masher, and his bat should be able to play in Major League Baseball, even at a corner outfield spot or at 1st base.
The Phillies, of course, would love to see him remain at catcher and become an offensive force behind the plate. That is what Alfaro would prefer as well. 
“I played first base two years ago in low-A, but I don’t really like it,” Alfaro explained to Floyd.  “I just like to be in the game, pitch by pitch, as a catcher.”
With the 2015 Paul Owens Award winner as the Phillies' top position prospect, fellow catcher Andrew Knapp, playing well at AAA Lehigh Valley, the practicality of a position switch may become a reality that both the team and the player will eventually have to embrace.

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