I have created a simplistic, yet innovative new process for evaluating prospects. I am still tinkering with the process while trying to come up with the best methodology to indicate the value of prospects for future fantasy purposes. I have chosen 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Prospects are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade.
Without further ado, let’s find out if Jorge Alfaro makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – Some of the adjectives used to describe the Rangers’ young catching prospect by coaches and scouts during the Arizona Fall League a few months ago: “smart”, “athletic”, “instinctive”, “alert”, and “he’s got baseball sense.” Rating: 10 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye - Alfaro still needs to make improvements, as his K-rate is too high (26.4% K in 2013), and his walk rate is too low (6.7% BB in 2013). Luckily, he should still have plenty of time in the minors to improve those rates. Rating: 7 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool – Coming into the 2013 season, some believed Alfaro was lacking when it came to his hit-tool. After a stellar 2013 season, Bernie Pleskoff of mlb.com believes the prospect now contains what is necessary to hit for a high-average in the majors. Rating: 8 out of 10.
4) Power – Scouts give the catcher a grade of 70-raw power. That could allow Alfaro to develop his power into becoming a 25 HR a year bat, and from the catcher position, that would be very valuable in fantasy leagues. Rating: 9 out of 10.
5) Speed – Alfaro might contain the best speed of any catcher in the major leagues while in the prime of his career, and it might not be close. He reminds some of a younger version of Russell Martin, capable of stealing anywhere from 10 to 20 bases per season. Rating: 10 out of 10.
6) Body – The 20 year-old catcher checks in at 6’2” and 185 lbs. He is an impressive specimen with a body type that has allowed him to become a better base runner than most catchers, while being athletic enough to stick behind the plate. Rating: 9 out of 10.
7) Durability – Only time will tell here, as Alfaro is just 20 years old. Catching can obviously wear on the body over time, so it will be interesting to see how this prospect’s body holds up as he continues to catch more games each year. But Alfaro hasn’t given us any reason to downgrade him here just yet. Rating: 9 out of 10.
8) Ceiling – Alfaro is still years away from making his major league debut, and other top catching prospects like Travis d'Arnaud and Gary Sanchez will be up sooner. But no other catcher in the minor leagues currently has the upside that Alfaro contains. Rating: 10 out of 10.
9) Floor – Being so raw and still years away from the majors, Alfaro has plenty of time to develop still ahead of him, which could lead to a number of outcomes. While the upside is tremendous, the floor is quite low in its own right, leaving a fair amount of risk here. Rating: 7 out of 10.
10) Future – With J.P. Arencibia and Geo Soto signed to short-term deals, the Rangers are keeping their prize catching prospect in mind. Alfaro will still need a few more years of developmental time in the minors, but could be starting in Arlington in 3-to-4 years. Rating: 9 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 88% - B+
Future Outlook: While still years away from making his MLB debut, fantasy owners are already counting down the days until this stud prospect makes his way to the major leagues. As Alfaro approaches the majors, his floor should dissipate. If he just stays on his current pace, he will quickly become a Grade A/A- prospect. While his arm is considered one of his top tools, he is oozing with the hitting tools required to become a top fantasy option. Jorge Alfaro could become a top 5 fantasy catcher in his prime capable of putting up stat lines that include a high batting average with nice homerun and stolen base totals. He should be owned in all long-term dynasty leagues.