Phillies Andrew Knapp over-performing in backup catcher role

Andrew Knapp Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Andrew Knapp Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Something has gotten to the Phillies backup catcher Andrew Knapp

Going into the 2020 season Phillies fans were ready to see a change at catcher. No, not with starter J.T. Realmuto, but with backup Andrew Knapp. The former second round pick had worn out his welcome with fans after three years hitting .223 and striking out more than 2.5 times than he walked.

Knapp held onto his backup job in spring training and summer camp, beating out Deivy Grullon and a host of non-roster invitees. Given the shortened season and the success of Realmuto, Knapp wasn’t expected to get a lot of work in 2020.

Joe Girardi has shown more faith in Knapp than the fans have, and that faith has paid off.

Going into Sunday’s game in New York Knapp was 11-24 (.458) with a hit in five of his last six games. He’s also been valuable off the bench, going 3-3 so far this season.

Early in Sunday’s game as the starting catcher Knapp showed his value once again, throwing out a runner in the first inning. The caught runner was his second in as many attempts, and if you didn’t know he was in you would have thought Realmuto made the play.

The next inning he delivered with a home run off Jacob deGrom, his first home run of the season.

Knapp has proven to be a capable backup for the Phillies and has two more seasons of arbitration, meaning the Phillies will have an opportunity to keep him until he turns 31.

Should Realmuto leave in free agency after this year the Phillies will likely look for an option better than Knapp. Earlier this year we highlighted five potential options if Realmuto leaves the Phillies, most of them better than Knapp.

If the Phillies are going to win now, Knapp won’t be their starting catcher, but he’s proven to at least be a backup they can, at least for now, rely on to play once or twice a week.