Throughout the offseason, we’ll booty a attending at the best and affliction aspect of anniversary key Phillie’s division and attending advanced at what the ambition should be for 2019.
Let’s alpha abaft the bowl with Jorge Alfaro.
The best: Power, pitch-framing
The worst: Whiffs, blocking
Alfaro hits the brawl hard. He had the fifth-highest band drive amount of any major-league catcher at 23.2 percent, advanced of guys like J.T. Realmuto and Buster Posey.
The affair is he doesn’t accomplish abundant contact. Alfaro swung and absent this division at 23.8 percent of the pitches he saw, a comically aerial amount for a major-leaguer. The next-highest amount in the NL was Javier Baez’s 18.2.
Midway through the season, I asked Gabe Kapler if Alfaro could be a advantageous abhorrent amateur abiding if his bowl alternative never improves. The basis of the manager’s acknowledgment was that Alfaro could but it would crave a big cutdown of his strikeout rate. That is a above if that will ascertain Alfaro’s career.
Too generally in 2018, the Phillies’ 7-8-9 of Scott Kingery, Alfaro and the bullpen went anemic out, anemic out, anemic out.
Theoretically, Alfaro’s affection for accepted and missing agency ashen opportunities with runners in scoring position. Yet that wasn’t absolutely the case in 2018. In 15 at-bats with a agent on third and beneath than two outs, Alfaro collection in nine runs. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Alfaro hit .344.
Still, his whiffs ashore out alike on a Phillies aggregation that addled out 103 added times than any division in authorization history. There are absorbing accoutrement there, but the hit apparatus is the best important in this sport.
The Phillies raved about Alfaro’s pitch-framing this season. By some metrics, he was a top-five pitch-framer leaguewide.
That’s great. But he was abominable at blocking the ball. So abounding anesthetized assurance that alike a league-average catcher catches. So abounding times he wasn’t able to advice his bullpen by preventing a “wild pitch” abounding added catchers would accept blocked.
There is a case to be fabricated that the Phillies’ attraction with pitch-framing has resulted in their catchers absorption added on *snatching the brawl the best accessible way* than artlessly communicable it.
To which I’d ask: What is added important, affairs your bullpen an added bang actuality and there, or preventing a agent from advancing?
Mathematically, it’s afterpiece than you think. But you accept to go above alone the numbers. For example, Alfaro bent 31 of Aaron Nola’s 35 starts. Nola is an aristocratic bullpen who gets account from umpires. All the pitches Alfaro was accustomed with “framing well” for Nola … who is to say the ump’s account for Nola consistently actuality about the bang area wasn’t appropriately or added so the acumen for those added strikes?
Alfaro’s capital focuses this offseason charge to be:
1. Laying off fastballs over his arch and breaking assurance able-bodied off the plate
2. Improving his blocking fundamentals
To the aboriginal point, there were so abounding bowl appearances this division aback Alfaro got abaft in the calculation and aloof gave up. So abounding times a bullpen threw a decay angle boilerplate a the bowl and he swung anyway. Anticipate about this: Alfaro was in an 0-2 calculation 74 times this division and 54 of those at-bats concluded in a three-pitch strikeout. That is ridiculous.
But admitting these negatives, the Phillies still ability accept article acceptable and admired in Alfaro. He has the power, the throwing arm, and — admitting the whiffs — a career .270 batting boilerplate with an OPS one percent beneath the alliance average.
He aloof needs to accomplish above strides in his age-26 division to be the difference-maker the Phillies accept he can be. Especially if Wilson Ramos doesn’t appear back.
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