Welcome to the Show, Alfaro and Quinn
So this is fun.
#Phillies have recalled C Jorge Alfaro and OF Roman Quinn from Reading (AA).
— Phillies (@Phillies) September 11, 2016
And as if that weren’t enough, Quinn will be in the starting lineup against the Nationals this afternoon batting second and playing center field. To date, the Phillies September call-ups have primarily been unexciting bullpen arms and increasingly veteran role players like Darin Ruf and Cody Asche. But with Reading’s elimination from the postseason last night, two of the Phillies top prospects have finally gotten the call.
Technically this is the second big league call for Jorge Alfaro, but the first was a one-day call-up to provide insurance in the time gap between Carlos Ruiz‘s departure and the arrival of A.J. Ellis. Alfaro didn’t get in the game, so it doesn’t really count. This time, however, we can expect to see the debut of the highly-touted catching prospect acquired from Texas last year in exchange for Cole Hamels.
Alfaro first made a Top 100 list prior to the start of the 2012 season when he was just 18 years old. Well, technically it was Baseball Prospectus’ Top 101 list and he was #101, but semantics shmantics. He’s known for his prolific power and tremendous throwing arm, but this year he’s begun to supplement those tools with enough of a foundation to give hope that his profile can work. His defense behind the plate has reportedly taken great strides forward this year and (in the friendly confines of Reading) he’s hit enough to post a solid .285/.325/.458 slashline. He’s always had the raw tools to be a star catcher, but not necessarily the means to capitalize on those tools. Now it’s looking increasingly like the Phillies have a future major league catcher on their hands in Alfaro. How productive a major league career he’ll have remains very much in question.
Roman Quinn, like Alfaro, is a 23-year-old with an electric tool set that you don’t need to be a professional scout to appreciate. He is a true 80-grade runner and it’s led to 159 stolen bases over his minor league career in just 356 games played. But, if you know anything about Quinn, you know it’s that “just 356 games” that’s the problem. He’s been devastatingly injury prone and it’s cost him precious developmental time. His speed combined with his minor league offensive numbers (.276/.363/.441) make it impossible not to get excited when looking at Quinn. When healthy, he’s a force on the diamond, but will he ever be healthy for long enough? It’s possible that he has a future as a major league starting center fielder, it’s possible that his future is as a speedy fourth outfielder, and, naturally, it’s possible that injuries prevent him from ever having the major league career he’s so obviously capable of having.
The Phillies have been incredibly difficult to watch of late, but the additions of Alfaro and Quinn do finally add a bit of intrigue to the final weeks of the 2016 season. No matter how they perform, it’s a welcome reminder that exciting times lay ahead for the local nine.