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MLB Rookie Profile: Andrew Knapp, C, Philadelphia Phillies

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The Phillies will use rookie Andrew Knapp as their backup catcher. What can we expect?

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Philadelphia Phillies Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our series of rookie profiles, we turn our attention to Andrew Knapp, catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. What does he offer? Let’s take a look.

Knapp was drafted by the Phillies in the second round in 2013 from the University of California. He hit well while fighting injuries in 2014, batting .290/.354/.438 in 75 games in Low-A, then warmed further with a .308/.385/.491 line in High-A and Double-A in 2015. In 2016 he hit .266/.330/.390 in 403 at-bats for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Knapp is now 25 years old, a switch-hitter listed at 6-1, 195. He was greatly respected for his bat in college and has been fairly productive but not outstanding as a pro, showing decent pop but inconsistent strike zone judgement. Projection systems view him as a .240sih hitter with a sub-.300 OBP in the majors right now; scouts who like his swing mechanics are a bit more optimistic but even so his maximum potential is probably about .260/.320/.390.

That’s workable for a catcher if the defense is there, but reviews are also mixed on the glove. Statistically he’s pretty good against runners, catching 38% last year. His error rates are good but his passed ball rates are mediocre, which fits reports that he’s competent technically but handicapped by below-average athleticism and mobility. He reportedly works very well with pitchers and has strong leadership skills.

Generally speaking Knapp has the intangibles teams look for in a backup catcher, combined with a somewhat better bat but weaker receiving than typical for the role.