Alfaro, 31 in June, was once considered a top 100 prospect in his time as a minor leaguer. He was originally signed as an amateur out of Colombia by the Rangers, but was twice moved as part of a notable trade. He was one of eight players in the deal in that was headlined by Cole Hamels going from the Phillies to the Rangers, then was flipped to the Marlins in the J.T. Realmuto trade.
But he hasn’t been able to live up to that prospect hype just yet. Even as a minor leaguer, his power came with poor plate discipline, but strikeouts have been a big problem in the majors. Defensively, he was considered strong in terms of controlling the running game but not great at blocking, which has also been borne out in the big leagues.
In 1,710 plate appearances to this point, he has walked in just 4.2% of them while getting punched out at a 34% clip. His overall batting line of .253/.302/.393 translated to a wRC+ of 86. On Statcast’s catcher throwing leaderboard, he’s been one of the better backstops since his 2016 debut. But when it comes to blocking, with Statcast’s data going back to 2018, Alfaro is dead last out of 215 catchers to see action in that time.
Despite those flaws, as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a bad minor league deal. The Cubs have veteran Yan Gomes and youngster Miguel Amaya set to split the catching duties but no other catcher on the 40-man roster. In the event of an injury, Alfaro can give them a bit of experienced non-roster depth.