Phillies fans watching the World Baseball Classic got a glimpse at their future Sunday, when No. 3 prospectJorge Alfaro made a big impact in what turned into a 10-3 defeat for Colombia to the Dominican Republic. And that future is bright.Alfaro, the 23-year-old catcher acquired in the deal that sent
Phillies fans watching the World Baseball Classic got a glimpse at their future Sunday, when No. 3 prospectJorge Alfaro made a big impact in what turned into a 10-3 defeat for Colombia to the Dominican Republic. And that future is bright.
Alfaro, the 23-year-old catcher acquired in the deal that sent Cole Hamels to Texas in 2015, is also the No. 76 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. He was one of the best players on a field littered with Major League All-Stars on Sunday.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Alfaro showed off on both sides of the ball, hammering a game-tying home run off Fernando Rodney at the dish and throwing out a would-be basestealer in the field. Alfaro unloaded on a 2-1 changeup from Rodney in the eighth inning, muscling a drive 398 feet over the fence in left-center, according to Statcast™. Statcast™ measured the ball's exit velocity at 109 mph. For context, that's harder than Nelson Cruz's towering game-winning drive for Team D.R. against the United States on Saturday.
Alfaro's blast tied the game at 3, the score it stayed at until the 11th inning when the Dominicans broke out for seven runs to clinch the top seed in Pool C. Given that the Dominican team is made up of 11 MLB All-Stars and Colombia's is made up of mostly Minor Leaguers, many expected the D.R. to roll to victory. But Alfaro's homer completed an afternoon-long comeback, proving Colombia's ability not just to challenge the reigning champs, but to push them to the brink.
Upon his return to an elated Colombian dugout, Alfaro shot celebratory arrows in the air with both arms, a nod to Rodney's signature celebration. Alfaro ended pool play with a .250 average and .808 OPS over three games.
He also looked at ease in the field. That much was apparent in the sixth inning, when Alfaro threw out Gregory Polanco trying to steal second base. Polanco stole 17 bases for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016.
Alfaro excelled at Double-A Reading last season, hitting .285/.325/.458 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs in 97 games before debuting as a September callup for Philadelphia. Expect to see more of him in the red and white, and soon.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.