NASHVILLE - Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said Jorge Alfaro "seems to be back to his old self" after the catching prospect finished his first week in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Alfaro has four hits in his first 16 at-bats. He went 3 for 4 on Tuesday night for Tiburones de La Guaira, whose general manager is Phillies coach Jorge Velandia. Alfaro, 22, was sidelined with an ankle injury when the Phillies acquired him from Texas in July as the centerpiece of the trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers. Alfaro returned to action in late August to play three games with the Gulf Coast League.
Alfaro will likely begin next season with double-A Reading, while 24-year-old Andrew Knapp starts the season in triple-A Lehigh Valley. Baseball America ranks Knapp as the Phillies fourth-best prospect and Alfaro as the No. 5 prospect. Klentak said having a pair of young catchers is a good problem.
"Finding catching is hard to do. You can see it in every year's draft. There's not a lot of catching out there," Klentak said. "For us to have at least two guys at the upper levels of our system that they profile as big-league catchers, that's a really nice situation to find ourselves in. Both of those guys still have a little bit of development to go. But we feel very fortunate to have two young kids that are going to be good big leaguers behind the plate."