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2021 Marlins Season Review: Jorge Alfaro

A position change and a slew of stints on the IL in 2021 did nothing to further the appreciation for Alfaro in Miami.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In a make-or-break year, Jorge Alfaro was unable to step up his game.

2021 Timeline

  • April 21: Placed on 10-day Injured List (left hamstring strain).
  • May 9: Begins rehab assigned at AAA Jacksonville.
  • May 24: Reinstated from 10-Day IL.
  • August 8: Removed early after experiencing “shortness of breath.”
  • September 11: Exited with an apparent left leg injury (calf).
  • September 17: Placed on the injured list with strained left calf.

By the Numbers

Alfaro finished his injured-shortened 2021 season in the 96th percentile in Max Exit Velocity, as well as the 82nd percentile in sprint speed, the former second only to his former trade partner, J.T. Realmuto among catchers.

The same issues that plagued Alfaro previously continued to rear their ugly head: lack of plate discipline intertwined with an abundance of swing-and-miss. Walking just 3.5 percent of the time, his lowest such mark since a 29-game showcase with the Phillies in 2017 when he walked a mere 2.6 percent of the time, Alfaro did this while posting a 31.8 percent strikeout rate. That’s 99 strikeouts against just 11 walks.

Overall, Alfaro’s 2021 slash line reads as such: .244/.283/.342 (70 OPS+).

In parts of three seasons with Miami, Alfaro owns an OPS+ of 82 (league average is 100). Among the 39 catchers with at least 150 games caught since 2019, Alfaro ranks 30th, all while being 12th in games caught during that span.

Catchers with at least 150 games caught since 2019, ranked by OPS+
Catchers with at least 150 games caught since 2019, ranked by OPS+

GM Kim Ng even experimented with Alfaro in the outfield, appearing in 21 games in left field, starting 18 of them. And while he managed to hit better at that foreign position—.313/.343/.418—Alfaro still finished the season 30-percent below the league average offensively, according to OPS+.


Will Alfaro Be Back?

While injuries surely didn’t help, neither has Alfaro’s present or past performance.

With news recently coming out that CEO Derek Jeter plans to open up the checkbook this offseason, as the team aims to compete in an up-for-grabs NL East, a roster that includes Alfaro could be a reason to count Miami out early in 2022. It should be noted, too, that the 28-year old will be arbitration-eligible in 2022, and given his track record, or lack thereof, of success, the native of Colombia appears to be an easy non-tender candidate.