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2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jorge Alfaro

Miami Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro was a key piece in the J.T. Realmuto trade that was executed before the 2019 season. The Marlins have high hopes for Alfaro and he continued his development in 2019 by slashing .262/.312/.425 with 18 HR, 57 RBI, 44 R, and 22 BB. The overall numbers may not seem all that impressive, but given that he plays at a relatively weak fantasy position in the catcher spot, he performed quite admirably as he was ranked in the top 15 at the position.

The question heading into 2020 is whether or not he can continue his ascent as a hitting catcher and possibly put himself within the top 10 at the position. The Marlins have made several moves this off-season, including the additions of Johnathan Villar, Jesus Aguilar, and Corey Dickerson. This would lead us to believe the overall offensive production of the team should be better.

Also, a deeper look into Alfaro's advanced metrics may be able to give a glimpse into what we can expect moving forward. He has seemingly progressed each season since breaking into the big leagues, but a deeper dive can help us understand where these improvements have come and where we should continue to expect further progress in 2020.

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He Hits the Ball Alfaro

Most of Alfaro's advanced metrics were solid in 2019, especially when you compare them to his career marks. One area where we saw the most improvement from Alfaro was his power metrics. He put up a  10.7% barrel rate, 90.8 mph exit velocity, .455 xSLG, and 44.8% hard-hit rate. Each of these came in above his career norms. They also attributed to him hitting 18 bombs, which ranked him inside the top 10 for the position. His strikeout rate of 33.1% is a bit concerning, but if he continues to increase his power and provide home runs and counting stats that go along with those, we should be able to deal with the strikeouts. The 33.1% strikeout rate was also a decline from 2018's 36.6%, so it is feasible we continue to see further improvement here in 2020.

There is also plenty of reason to think his power stroke and counting stats will only improve in 2020. The first reason is his age. Alfaro is only 26 and just finished his second full season in the big leagues, putting up a career-high 431 at-bats in 2019. The Marlins have also added more talent around Alfaro for 2020. The additions mentioned above won't make the Marlins a contender, but they will certainly help them score more runs than the 615 (second-worst in baseball) they scored a season ago. Alfaro will also likely be hitting sixth in the lineup, which will give him plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. The Marlins have also moved the fences in for 2020, which adds one more reason to look for continued power improvements.

One other area Alfaro can have immense value is vs. left-handed pitching. In 2019, he had a solid slash line of .286/.322/.491 vs lefties and also managed to put up a .813 OPS with six home runs in just 112 at-bats. Compare this to his line of .254/.308/.401 with a .710 OPS vs. righties and it is pretty clear he shows a bit more pop when facing lefties. His line vs. righties is not bad for a catcher by any means, just simply noting that he should certainly be in lineups when facing a lefty.

 

Conclusion

Overall, Jorge Alfaro has been on a solid trajectory over the previous two seasons. He has increased most of his power metrics while reducing his strikeout rate. If he continues to reduce his strikeout rate in 2020, he could potentially have a breakout season, but even if he doesn't, the power metrics tell us he should be somewhere near a top-10 catcher. He currently has an ADP of 215 and is being taken as the 12th catcher off the board just behind Carson Kelly and Christian Vazquez. This is right in line with where we have him ranked and is a solid spot to draft him. He makes for a stud second catcher in two catcher leagues and should be a solid producer as your top catcher if you decide to wait on the position until the later rounds.

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