Alfaro went 1-for-3 with his fifth home run of the season Thursday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Alfaro also picked up his fifth walk of the season in the game. He is slashing .267/.300/.403 in 206 at-bats this season. Plate discipline remains an issue with just a handful of walks in 217 plate appearances and a 30.4 percent strikeout rate. Alfaro is expected to spend the full year at Triple-A, but will likely come up in September when rosters expand. He is out of options next season, so he is a near lock to be on the Phillies' roster in 2018. How much he plays will be dependent on how his bat comes along this year and next.
Alfaro is hitting .357/.379/.554 with two home runs and a stolen base in 56 at-bats for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Alfaro's on-base percentage is being fueled by all the hits that are falling for him as he has just one walk thus far. He is also striking out at a slightly higher rate than at Double-A Reading last season, so expect his early BABIP-fueled average to fall in the coming months. The Phillies are expected to keep Alfaro at Triple-A for most, if not all, of this season. He will be out of options after this season, so he will need to be ready for at least a backup roll in the majors next year.
Alfaro was optioned to minor league camp Friday.
Arguably fantasy's best catcher prospect for 2017, the 23-year-old peppered pitchers at Double-A Reading last year (.285/.325/.458, with 15 home runs and 67 RBI in 435 plate appearances). Alfaro probably has nothing left to prove at Double-A and could start the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in short order. Expect to see him in the majors sometime this summer with hopes of building on his 16-at-bat MLB stint in 2016 over which he struck out eight times.
Alfaro had two hits in eight at-bats this spring. He got his first taste of the majors last season, but he isn't in the mix for a roster spot this spring. The Phillies want Alfaro to get some additional development time at Triple-A this season, and he will likely be the starting catcher for Team Columbia in the WBC.
Alfaro is in the starting lineup Tuesday against the Pirates, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Enquirer reports.
The day after tallying his first major league hit, the heralded catching prospect will make his first big league start behind the plate. Alfaro will bat eighth in the lineup as he bumps Cameron Rupp and A.J. Ellis to the bench.
|7/22/2017 vs Milwaukee|
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|Last 7 Games|
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|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2013||AFA-Myrtle Beach Pelican||3||11||4||2||0||0||0||0||2||5||0||0||.308||.182||.182|
|2014||AFA-Myrtle Beach Pelican||100||398||63||104||22||5||13||73||23||100||6||5||.318||.440||.261|