Marlins Spring Training: Jorge Alfaro must do more in 2020

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 2: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the Miami Marlins hits a two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park June 2, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 2: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the Miami Marlins hits a two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park June 2, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Although he was the team’s starting catcher in 2019, will the Marlins Jorge Alfaro have to win the starting job in Spring Training?

The Miami Marlins added plenty of players to add depth at the catcher position this offseason. As the team heads to Spring Training next month, the incumbent starter Jorge Alfaro will look to improve on his first season in South Florida.

The front office would love for Alfaro, who was part of the trade package that involved J.T. Realmuto and Sixto Sanchez, to improve his numbers at the plate and his defense behind the dish.

For those of you wondering, pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12 to the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. The first full-squad workout will be on Feb. 17. With less than five weeks to go, there is plenty of anticipation about a Marlins squad that improved itself with additions in free agency, via trade and the Rule 5 Draft this offseason.

Depth at the catcher spot was one of the things the front office identified as a need and added Francisco Cervelli from Pittsburgh to enter the mix for the starting job.

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"“Even though Alfaro projects as the organization’s catcher of the present and future, the 26-year-old will have to compete for the starting job in 2020,” writes Paul Casella of MLB.com. “Free-agent pickup Francisco Cervelli, who is finalizing a one-year deal with Miami, will push Alfaro for playing time after splitting time with the Pirates and Braves in ’19. The 33-year-old broke in with the Yankees in 2008, and he is a former teammate of Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter.”"

Alfaro’s season was certainly a mixed bag of hope and frustration. He played 130 games in 2019 and hit .262 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs. He also displayed speed on the bases. But the flip side to his resume is he had a strikeout percentage of 33.1.

To his credit, he worked with a young pitching staff that is still developing as a group.

Besides Cervelli, Chad Wallach remains on the 40-man roster. Ryan Lavarnway, Santiago Chavez, B.J. Lopez, and Brian Navarreto were all invited to Spring Training to win a roster spot.

The addition of Cervelli is a good one as his leadership could be a big bonus on the bench and in the dugout.

"“Though Cervelli appeared in just 48 games last season, he has played more than 100 games three times since ’15,” Casella wrote."

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