Phillies Have Andrew Knapp Taking Reps at First Base

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Nov 7, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Phillies are exploring all possibilities about how they will construct the 25-man roster, and one involves Andrew Knapp playing first.

Both of the Phillies’ top catching prospects are knocking on the door at the major-leagues with Andrew Knapp spending 2016 at Triple-A and Jorge Alfaro getting a brief stint in the major-leagues. With both in need of playing time, the team has to find a way to get them both reps without hampering their development.

One way Knapp may see some additional playing time in 2017 is by serving as the team’s backup first baseman. The team uploaded a clip of Knapp taking reps at first base on their official Snapchat account.

Knapp played first base one season while he was at the University of California and had to play one inning there last year while he was in Triple-A.

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General manager Matt Klentak hinted that Knapp could serve as the team’s backup catcher in 2017 during the offseason when he said:

"“I don’t think we need a veteran backup catcher. If it works out we’re open minded to that,” general manager Matt Klentak said. “But Andrew Knapp just finished age 25 season in Triple-A. He has a full year of at-bats in Triple-A.“At some point for both he and Alfaro we’re going to have to find out what those guys can do at the big league level. During 2017 we’ll have to find out – not just about those two guys – but others.”"

However, Klentak signed Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday to minor-league deals and both are with the major-league team in spring training. It has been speculated the team may want a veteran game-caller on the roster to help mentor the inexperienced Cameron Rupp with his game-calling. That would seriously hamper Knapp’s chances at being the backup.

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Manager Pete Mackanin said to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, “Catching is a defensive-oriented position. We need good defense. We need good game calling, a catcher who can handle pitchers, and that’s what we’re going to be looking at from a guy like Knapp as well as the other guys. We’re going to take a good long look at that.” Knapp feels that he can be what Mackanin is looking for.

“I kind of understand there’s a definite value in having a veteran guy as a backup, but I think I can do the job on the field,” Knapp told Salisbury. “It’s open for someone to go take it and I want to be that guy.”

It is possible the team could carry Knapp as well as one of Hanigan or Holaday on the 25-man roster with Knapp serving as the team’s backup first baseman along with seeing time behind the plate.

Bench coach Larry Bowa said to Salisbury, “A guy like him [Knapp] can give you some options and flexibility. When you face the Mets and they have three stud right-handers throwing 95, it might be nice to have a guy like that to give (first baseman) Tommy Joseph a blow.”

Next: Phillies Alumnus Darin Ruf Heading to South Korea

It appears the Phillies will do whatever it takes to get the best 25 players on the major-league roster, and if that involves using Knapp at first, then that’s more than okay with them.

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