So That's Where He Learned His Slop-Hacking 

From a profile of Eliezer Alfonzo in today's Chronicle:

Instead, Eliezer was best buds with Tony Armas Jr., "my brother," whose father, Tony, was an outfielder with the A's and Red Sox, among others. "I asked him a lot of questions about baseball and hitting," Alfonzo said. "He taught me a lot about it."

Tony Armas's career stats:

5,164 AB / 251 HR / .252 BA / .287 OBP / .453 SLG

Kidding aside, it's a nice profile and shows what guys like Alfonzo go through to catch one big break. To his credit, he's made the break pay off. And if he's as hard-working and tenacious as the profile describes, there's a good chance he'll improve his weaknesses on offense and defense.

Eliezer, a.k.a. Notgardo, who is in fact Edgardo's second cousin, has a wee problem with pitch selection. Only eight walks in 234 at-bats, and sometimes he gets thoroughly abused by pitchers who don't bother to come close to the strike zone.

As long as he's hitting eighth, his tendency to swing at everything is less bothersome than, say, Pedro Feliz's first-pitch hacking. Eliezer is no Vlad Guerrero, the ultimate bad-ball hitter, but I've seen him hit some bad pitches hard, which could be an asset when a pitcher is trying to work around him with two outs.

Question: Are you comfortable with the thought of Alfonzo as the 2007 starting catcher? If Matheny recovers from his concussions, who should start the majority of games?


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