Washington Nationals: Where Derek Norris Ranks Among NL East Catchers
2. Cameron Rupp (PHI)
2016 Stats: 105 G, .252/.303/.447, .750 OPS, 98 H, 16 HR, 36 R, 54 RBI, 24 BB, 114 SO and 1.3 bWAR
Rupp made enormous strides with the Phillies last year, by showing some pop in his bat. He nearly doubled his home run and RBI total from the previous season and caught 200 more innings. The increase in workload didn’t have an adverse impact on his performance, and it’s a great sign moving forward for the Phillies.
The Phillies have a dynamic catching prospect in Jorge Alfaro, but they don’t have to rush him to the Majors with Rupp holding his own. This is important, as it will provide Alfaro more time to develop his skills in the minors.
Alfaro is already a terrific defensive catcher as he committed just six errors in 95 games with Double-A Reading. However, his plate discipline isn’t quite refined. He struck out 105 times and managed just 22 walks, which is a sign of him being a free swinger at the plate.
It’s a weakness that pitchers in the Majors will exploit. Alfaro can make this weakness become a strength with more at-bats in the minors.
An interesting aspect of last season for Rupp was his defense behind the plate. He committed just five errors, which was one more than the prior year. However, his caught stealing percentage was 27, a steep drop from 2015 when it was 38 percent.
Rupp played more games in 2016, and the result was that opposing teams had more chances to steal bases against him. I wouldn’t be too concerned with the decrease as the league caught stealing percentage was 27, so Rupp was average in this area.
The Phillies are set at the catcher position with Rupp doing a solid job and Alfaro waiting in the wings to take over.