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Fantasy: Marlins C Jorge Alfaro is a High-Risk/High-Reward Option

Picking catchers in fantasy baseball can be tricky, especially for new players. Nevertheless, you can find great value when it comes to grabbing catchers late in drafts. But one catcher, the Marlins’ Jorge Alfaro, is quite an interesting case.

A Look into Alfaro’s 2019

The 26-year old was traded to the Marlins back in February of 2019, as he was one of the players who went to Miami in exchange for fellow catcher J.T. Realmuto. Alfaro was a top catching prospect with the Rangers and Phillies, and the Columbian native has always had the potential to be an impact catcher at the MLB level. 2019 was the first season that Alfaro was able to play over 130 games, and he made the most of his time. Alfaro finished last season ninth among catchers (min. 350 PA) in batting average (.262), tenth in home runs (18) and tied for twelfth in runs batted in (57).

Alfaro’s expected stats last season were also impressive, as his .452 xwOBACON was the fourth-best number among catchers (min. 250 PA). And in terms of making hard contact, he certainly did that in 2019:

Those numbers were not bad at all last season, but there were also some seriously concerning stats on Alfaro last season.

For one, Alfaro had a horrendous amount of strikeouts last season. Alfaro’s 33.1 K% rate was the second-highest rate among catchers (min. 300 PA, only Braves C Tyler Flowers had a higher rate) and the seventh-highest among all batters. In addition, the 26-year old had the highest Whiff% rate (38.4%) and the highest Chase Whiff% rate (24.8%) in baseball last season (min. 300 PA). Considering that hitters don’t necessarily have very high batting averages with those rates (only one player, Rays infielder Brandon Lowe, had an AVG above .269 with a Whiff% rate of at least 37%), as well as the fact that Alfaro hasn’t had much career success outside of 2019 to go off of, you can see that the risk with the Columbian native is quite high.

Oh, and by the way, it’s probably also worth mentioning that he wasn’t great against the slider last year:

 

While Alfaro can smash a breaking ball that’s left over the plate, his problems come when a slider runs away from him. Even though Alfaro batted .250 off the slider in 2019, the 26-year old had a Whiff% rate of 47.7% last year (via Baseball Savant). And when the pitch was out of the zone, especially down and away, he crumbled. Given his swing-happy tendencies, you shouldn’t be surprised that 39.6% of the sliders Alfaro saw out of the zone resulted in a swing and miss.

 

If your league also utilizes walks, Alfaro’s paltry 4.4 BB% rate from 2019 is also quite the concerning number. But is the risk that comes with Jorge Alfaro worth it?

READ: FANTASY – MATT OLSON IS A TOP-FIVE FIRST BASEMAN

Recommendation for Alfaro in 2020

There are certainly better catchers out then Alfaro, given some of the issues that I outlined here. Nevertheless, the 26-year old does warrant some consideration in mixed leagues thanks to his power. Yes, he’s going to strike out a lot and one shouldn’t expect him to bat as high as he did last season. In addition, he won’t help you with the walks category if you’ll need that. However, he can be a source for cheap home runs and runs batted in.

If you need a catcher late, (and since many players tend to wait until later to find one, you may be in that spot) Alfaro wouldn’t be a terrible option, but it would be a good idea to try to target another catcher if you can in free agency. Some players don’t carry a second catcher, but if you’re not obligated to have a backup, strongly consider targeting one if you draft the Marlin. Alfaro certainly has the potential to be a solid fantasy catcher, but there’s also quite a bit of risk with him, so have a backup plan.


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