Jorge Alfaro and his swing are coming back to their original shape.
The Miami Marlins lost 8-5 to the Cincinnati Reds but at least one of their young franchise cornerstones continued producing.
Jorge Alfaro hit his second consecutive home run in the sixth inning against Reds starter and former Marlins prospect Luis Castillo. The two-run had an exit velocity of 110.7 mph, with an estimated distance of 399 feet, according to Statcast. It’s the longest home run of his young career.
“When he doesn’t chase, he’s pretty good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “When he puts the ball in play — we’ve said it the whole time — he hits the ball hard. He’s been successful. I think that’s where we’ve got to make strides.”
What Don Mattingly said about Jorge Alfaro two weeks ago held true on Tuesday when the young catcher hit a home run against the Reds pic.twitter.com/OPP2UIqBb3
— Tony Capobianco (@TonyCapobianco) August 28, 2019
Jorge Alfaro is now hitting .271 with a .429 slugging percentage, with a career high 14 home runs and 44 RBIs. There’s still time to finish the season with 20 home runs, which is the usual benchmark for power hitters.
“I’m just trying to be on time,” Alfaro said. “That’s it. That’s all I’m trying to do, and look for a good pitch.”
Alfaro’s success at the plate is due to his ability to make constant contact. He entered the night with a 34.3 percent strikeout rate and a 45.5 hard-hit percentage. According to Statcast, that number is in the 86th percentile.
“He’s been swinging the bat good,” Mattingly said. “He seems better up there.”
J.T. Realmuto set the Marlins single season mark with 21 home runs in 2018. Alfaro was part of the return package in the February trade that sent Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies, and is currently at No. 9. For context, John Buck (2011), Miguel Olivo (2006-07) and Ivan Rodriguez (2003) are tied for the fifth most with 16.
Only two years separate Alfaro from Realmuto but the Marlins will have the Colombian catcher under team control until after the 2023 season. He’ll be 30 by then, but hopefully there will be a powerful finished product by then.