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If J.T. Realmuto leaves Phillies, will Andrew Knapp see more time behind the plate in 2021?

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As baseball's offseason takes shape, we will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2020 roster and where they fit in the future. We'll go through the roster by uniform number, lowest to highest for position players, highest to lowest for pitchers, and alternate daily.

Today: Catcher Andrew Knapp

Career rundown

Knapp just completed his fourth season as the Phillies' backup catcher. He won the Paul Owens Award as the team's top minor-league player in 2015. 

The switch-hitter holds the distinction of being the only player to have hit a double, a triple and a homer against New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, a two-time National League Cy Young winner.

How he became a Phillie

He was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft out of the University of California, Berkeley.

2020 season

Because of doubleheaders and an injury to starting catcher J.T. Realmuto, Knapp got more frequent playing time than in the past. More regular at-bats helped him have his best season at the plate. He hit .278 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 72 at-bats. Seven of his 20 hits were for extra bases. He reached base in 36 of 89 plate appearances for a .404 on-base percentage.

Knapp made 22 starts behind the plate and threw out 2 of 9 would-be base stealers (22.2 percent). During the season, third base coach Dusty Wathan, who oversees catching instruction, commented that Knapp's blocking and receiving, both areas in need of work, had improved. 

Knapp is a bright guy and his ability to connect with pitchers and call a game are both strong. He has shown a particular chemistry with starter Zach Eflin, who took a big step forward in 2020 and will be very important in 2021.

 

What lies ahead

Knapp showed himself to be a dependable backup capable of stepping in for more extended stretches in 2020. He lines up to remain in that role in 2021. The big question is: Will he be backing up Realmuto or someone else if the All-Star departs via free agency? 

If Realmuto leaves and the Phillies don't bring in a frontline catcher to replace him, it's conceivable that Knapp could see an expanded role behind the plate, depending on his performance.