The landscape of the Phillies catching situation has shifted considerably in the last 24 hours. The team sent mainstay backstop Carlos Ruiz to Los Angeles in a trade that tore Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis away from Clayton Kershaw and put him in red pinstripes. Ellis will likely take over catching duties with Philadelphia along with Cameron Rupp, but the transition has opened a window of opportunity for Phillies No. 4 prospect Jorge Alfaro as well.
Source: Jorge Alfaro is coming up for Phillies. One of key players in Cole Hamels trade return, Alfaro is a rocket-armed, big-power catcher.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 26, 2016
The window, however, is more likely to be cracked than fully opened.
As CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury explains, Alfaro’s appearance is due to Ellis not joining the team until the weekend. The Phillies would have been shorthanded behind the plate, with only Rupp and emergency catcher Emmanuel Burriss as options. Once Ellis joins the team, Alfaro’s Philadelphia vacation will likely conclude.
Alfaro would likely be seen again as a September call-up anyway, having long been touted as a piece of the Phillies’ future. Acquired in return for the Cole Hamels trade with the Rangers, Alfaro slashed .279/.321/.442 with Double A Reading this season in 90 games.
Following a slump that saw his BA drop ten points, Alfaro mounted a bounce back campaign on July 27 with a four-hit game, his second of the season. He has also earned the reputation as a much-improved defensive asset, gunning down 44% of potential base stealers in 2016 after allowing 60 free passes in each of the past two years.