Phillies: Andrew Knapp deserves recognition amid career year

Andrew Knapp #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Andrew Knapp #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

It is hard to ignore the positive impact Andrew Knapp has had on the Phillies this season

The Philadelphia Phillies are winners of three straight games and are two games over .500 with just eight games left to play in the shortened 2020 season. This recent success has come all without perennial All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has been sidelined since September 12 with hip soreness.

But, the Phillies have backup catcher Andrew Knapp to thank for filling Realmuto’s shoes perhaps better than most — if not all — fans would have expected him to entering the season.

Knapp came through with a clutch RBI on Saturday opposite Blue Jays ace Hyun Jin Ryu, a fifth-inning single to tie the game at one. Later that inning, Knapp would score the eventual game-winning run on an Andrew McCutchen RBI single to center field.

During Saturday evening’s broadcast, television play-by-play announcer Tom McCarthy said that fans “cannot say enough positive things about Andrew Knapp and what he has done this year.”

McCarthy is not wrong. Knapp is having an overall career-best year, and deserves some recognition for it. Through 27 games, the 28-year-old is slashing .321/.443/.482 with 11 RBI. His career RBI single-season high is 15, set two seasons ago spanning 84 games. Knapp has also never finished a season hitting better than .257; he hit only .198 in 2018, and .213 in 2019.

“He’s turned himself into one of the better backup catchers in the National League and I don’t think anybody can argue that,” McCarthy continued.

Behind the plate, Knapp has yet to commit an error spanning more than 170 chances. Realmuto, meanwhile, has a pair of errors across 100-plus more chances than Knapp.

“He’s done a good job defensively as well. I think he’s improved even defensively,” Phillies television color analyst Ben Davis commented about Knapp on Saturday. “[He’s] throwing the ball well, blocking the ball well, [and] calling good games.”

“You can see he’s got a very good rapport with his pitching staff.”

Over his past seven games, starting in place of Realmuto, Knapp has five hits, five RBI, four walks, and just six strikeouts. For a backup catcher hitting slightly higher than .320, all the while fielding the ball well behind the plate, it is hard to ask for anything more.

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