SAN DIEGO- - Jorge Alfaro had everybody from Mike Schmidt to Larry Bowa to Matt Stairs raving about his power the first time they watched him take batting practice in Spring Training 2016.They made comparisons to Dick Allen and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.Alfaro showed his strength in Tuesday night's
SAN DIEGO- - Jorge Alfaro had everybody from Mike Schmidt to Larry Bowa to Matt Stairs raving about his power the first time they watched him take batting practice in Spring Training 2016.
They made comparisons to Dick Allen and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
Alfaro showed his strength in Tuesday night's 8-4 loss to the Padres at Petco Park. He crushed a line-drive, two-run home run to center field in the fifth inning for the first homer of his career. The ball left his bat at 114.2 mph, according to Statcast™. It is the Phillies' hardest hit home run since Statcast™'s debut in 2015. Tommy Joseph held the previous mark at 112 mph.
"I felt like I was dreaming running the bases," Alfaro said. "I didn't feel like that before. It feels like the hard work paid off, you know? I don't know how to describe the feeling. It feels really nice, really good."
Almost nobody, not even Alfaro, thought the ball would leave the park because it sailed like a missile hugging the ground, never getting more than 50 feet off the ground.
"I thought it was going to be a double off the wall," Alfaro said.
"Oh, man. Oh, my," said Rhys Hoskins, who hit his third homer in two days in the ninth inning. "We get to see that every day in BP. You put some velocity behind that and it will go a long way."
"The launch angle wasn't quite high enough," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin joked. "I can't believe that ball went out. Jeez."
Alfaro, 23, is the No. 70 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. He is likely to be on the Phillies' Opening Day roster next season because he is out of options, but he is far from a polished product. He needs to make strides both offensively and defensively. He will try to make them in the big leagues the rest of the season.
Before Andrew Knapp broke his right hand and Alfaro got recalled on Aug. 4, Alfaro hit .241 with seven homers, 43 RBIs and a .649 OPS in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He walked just 16 times and struck out 113 times in 350 plate appearances.
He is hitting .375 (6 for 16) with one homer, two RBIs and five strikeouts in four games with the Phillies.
"I'm just trying to help the team any way I can, moving the runner or whatever," Alfaro said. "Base hits come out of that. That's what I'm trying to do, be patient and make good contact and hit it hard."
Alfaro's blast was the hardest-hit homer for a player's first career homer and the second hardest-hit homer by a catcher since 2015. The Yankees' Gary Sanchez hit one 115.1 mph.
"That's why we like him," Mackanin said about Alfaro's power potential. "He has unbelievable power. If you watch him in batting practice, you see the power. The ball makes a real good sound off his bat when he hits it."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.