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.