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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Phillies organization suffered a temporary setback with yesterday's announcement that TBOH Phillies #6 prospect, catcher Jorge Alfaro, would likely miss more than a month due to an oblique injury.
While that is indeed a setback, especially considering how well Alfaro was hitting this season at AA Reading, the Phillies do still have a highly regarded catching prospect who is even further along in his development.
On ranking the Phillies top prospects back in February, our TBOH staff lumped catcher Andrew Knapp in with a few others as the #10 prospect in the organization.
Knapp has come out here in the 2016 season like gangbusters, picking right up where he left off his stellar 2015 campaign. 
To date, Knapp is hitting for a .364/.517/.682 slash line with two homers, six RBI, and seven runs scored over an admittedly, as our Ethan Witte likes to say, "small sample size" of 29 plate appearances.
"He's only had one at-bat where he has forced something and swung at a couple of bad pitches to get himself out," said Sal Rende, the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs hitting coach, per The Morning Call's Tom Housenick. "Otherwise, he's been very impressive."
But for Knapp, this is again building off that outstanding 2015, a season after which he was named as the Phillies' organizational Paul Owens Award winner among the position players.
In that 2015 campaign, Knapp hit for a .308/.385/.491 slash line with 13 homers, 35 doubles, and 84 RBI while catching in 94 games split between High-A Clearwater and AA Reading.

Knapp is a California native. He was the Phillies 2nd round pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of California-Berkeley. 
Now 24-years old, he has risen incrementally but steadily through the club's minor league system, and is now on the cusp of his first big league call-up.
That call to the Majors could come at some point this summer. With veterans Cameron Rupp and Carlos Ruiz currently handling the backstop chores for the Phillies, there is no need to rush him.
But Ruiz is clearly in his final season with the team after a championship career, and could be dealt before the summer is out, creating an opening. Knapp will be ready when that call comes.
Whether it is he or Alfaro who ultimately emerges as the Phillies' catcher of the future is yet to be determined, but assuming his own health, Knapp will get the first shot.

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