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Callup not imminent despite Alfaro's torrid run

Phillies' third-ranked prospect in final Minor League option season
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- One of the Phillies' top prospects is off to a blazing start.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley catcher Jorge Alfaro is the Phillies' No. 3 prospect and the No. 67 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline. He entered Wednesday hitting .377 (23-for-61) with one double, two triples, three home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.003 OPS in 15 games.

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PHILADELPHIA -- One of the Phillies' top prospects is off to a blazing start.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley catcher Jorge Alfaro is the Phillies' No. 3 prospect and the No. 67 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline. He entered Wednesday hitting .377 (23-for-61) with one double, two triples, three home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.003 OPS in 15 games.

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"Knocking the cover off the ball," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said on Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. "He's doing very well."

But it might be a while before Alfaro is promoted, even if he keeps hitting well. Alfaro, 23, is in his final option year, meaning beginning next season, the Phillies cannot send him to the Minor Leagues without risking losing him.

Tweet from @MiLB: #Phillies No. 3 prospect Jorge Alfaro continues torrid start with four RBIs, three hits for @IronPigs. https://t.co/BYcZkv3E9K pic.twitter.com/WCsLIePMI0

Because of that, the Phillies might prefer to have Alfaro play regularly at Triple-A, in preparation for what could be a prominent role in 2018. Obviously, that does not apply come September, when rosters expand or if there is an injury to Cameron Rupp (.657 OPS in 52 plate appearances) or Andrew Knapp (.594 OPS in 20 plate appearances).

Alfaro still needs work offensively. The Phillies wanted to see him make more contact this season, and so far he has, but he has walked once compared to 17 strikeouts. Defensively, he still has room to grow, although Mackanin said reports indicate improvement.

Video: COL@CAN: Statcast™ tracks Alfaro's impressive throw

"He had some issues defensively," Mackanin said. "He wasn't getting down enough, and he worked on that all spring. He's a big guy, and it's a little more difficult for a big guy to get low and just be a little more quiet behind the plate; less movement.

"And he certainly doesn't need a lot of work on his throwing, because he's got that howitzer for an arm. He's doing well blocking balls. He's doing everything well right now and hitting on top of it, so that's a nice sign."

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.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jorge Alfaro