Jorge Alfaro and Francisco Cervelli could be the best catching combo the Miami Marlins have had in a long time. The potential for offensive production and defensive acumen makes this pair one to watch in 2020.
The Miami Marlins signed Francisco Cervelli to a one-year, $2 million deal this winter. He’ll presumably be catching-incumbent Jorge Alfaro‘s primary backup, although the team still employs Chad Wallach as well.
In 2019, Miami saw decent offensive production from the catcher’s spot, as five players combined to hit 24 home runs and knock in 76 runs. The five catchers in 2019 (Alfaro, Wallach, Bryan Holaday, Tyler Heineman and Wilkin Castillo) were better than league-average at throwing out base-stealers (30 percent) and passed balls (13) but posted the seventh-most errors (13) and were below average in fielding percentage (.991).
But the Alfaro-Cervelli combo could do even more. Alfaro hit 18 home runs and knocked in 57 RBI, and slashed a respectable .262/.312/.425 in 2019. But he struggled defensively, posting the fourth-most errors by a catcher (11) and the third-most passed balls (11).
Cervelli missed much of 2019 due to concussion related symptoms, but in his last full season, he produced well at the plate and behind it. In 2018, Cervelli played 104 games for Pittsburgh and slashed .259/.378/.431 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI. And he’s known as a defensive stalwart who calls a great game.
Their pairing should help Alfaro’s growth defensively and as a game-caller, and it should aid in the development of the young pitching staff.
The Marlins have had some great catchers over the years, and some incredibly successful catching combos. Alfaro and Cervelli could be the best pairing in years. Yes, JT Realmuto had an All-Star campaign in 2018, but his backups, Holaday and Wallach, provided little support.