Phillies: 4 candidates for backup catcher role in 2020

Deivy Grullon, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Deivy Grullon, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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2. Andrew Knapp

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 19: Philadelphia Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp (15) in action during the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals on June 19, 2019, at Nationals Park, in Washington D.C. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Andrew Knapp is one of three catchers on the Phillies’ 40-man roster, joining J.T. Realmuto and Deivy Grullon.

The 28-year-old, switch-hitting catcher has played 214 games in the majors, all with the Phillies, since his April 2017 debut. Spanning 579 plate appearances, Knapp has slashed .223/.327/.336 with 23 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 36 RBI, 73 walks and 182 strikeouts.

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The Phillies have relied on Knapp, especially last season, to simply give Realmuto rest and hope that his defense can overcome any differences in offense between he and the two-time All-Star. Knapp committed just three errors in 2019 as catcher across 297 1/3 innings and 341 chances; a year prior, however, his eight errors were the fifth-most among all National League catchers.

Perhaps the Phillies are hoping that Knapp can regain some of the spark he had across the Advanced-A and Double-A levels in 2015, in which he combined to slash .308/.385/.491 with 13 home runs and 84 RBI across 118 games and 522 plate appearances. As a starting catcher in 2019, however, he had a polar opposite performance, slashing only .208/.333/.337 with two home runs and six RBI across 39 games and 123 plate appearances.

It was believed Knapp would be the definite favorite to return for a fourth straight season as backup catcher, especially after he and the team avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $700,000 contract in early December.

Just a few weeks later, however, the Phillies brought in a five-year veteran catcher on a minor-league deal to create competition for the Roseville, California native: Christian Bethancourt.