Rupp Performing Well Beyond Expectations

Rupp Performing Well Beyond Expectations The Phillies have a strong minor league system and there is reason to be excited at several positions, including catcher. With switch hitting Andrew Knapp at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and impressive righthanded bat Jorge Alfaro at Double A Reading, the Phillies' future appears bright behind the plate.

Through Monday Knapp, who turns 25 in December, was hitting .267 with seven home runs, 38 RBI and a .724 slugging plus on base percentage. He has thrown out 14 of 42 attempted base stealers.

Alfaro, who turned 23 in June, is batting .290 with 12 home runs, 55 RBI and a .791 OPS. He has thrown out 27 of 64 runners.

Alfaro was acquired in the trade last season from Texas for Cole Hamels, a deal that helped fortify the Phillies minor league system. Two of the players in the trade, righthanders Jerad Eickhoff and Jake Thompson, are already on the Phillies roster.

There have been questions about his ability to call a game, but his bat will earn Alfaro a place in the majors.

There is the feeling that the Phillies current catcher Cameron Rupp is just holding down the fort until the young catchers develop, but could he be more than potential trade bait?

After Monday Rupp was hitting .278 with 13 home runs, 40 RBI and an .826 OPS. He had thrown out 11 of 47 attempted base stealers.

Rupp turns 28 in September and there is the feeling that when the Phillies are ready to turn the corner that he could be past his prime.

A third-round draft choice in the 2010 draft from the University of Texas, Rupp has shown great improvement this season.

Last year in his first extensive big league action, Rupp hit .233 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs and a .675 OPS in 270 at-bats. That is the same number of at-bats he had following Monday's game.

All three of the aforementioned catchers have some defensive questions and the Phillies had been spoiled for the years Carlos Ruiz was in his prime.

Yet Rupp has shown improvement behind the plate and definitely has at the plate.

Since he was a college player, Rupp simply appears to be a late bloomer. During his final minor league season in 2014, one in which he appeared in 18 games for the Phillies, Rupp hit just .165 at Lehigh Valley.

Maybe he just needed regular at-bats to show his offensive skill. He is no doubt, playing with plenty of confidence and has become one of the Phillies best offensive players.

To get this kind of offensive production is a bonus from the catching position.

At the very least, Rupp has certainly become a more desired commodity who could possibly earn the Phillies a good prospects or even a major league player in a trade.

Photo by Marc Narducci: Cameron Rupp

Yet sometimes the best trades are the one a team doesn't make and right now Rupp is looking not only like the Phillies catcher of the present, but very possibly the future.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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