Ron Costello

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cameron Will Be No Pushover Behind the Plate

With Chooch's numbers dropping like the Russian ruble, and  Tommy Joseph getting 'conked' too much, the Phillies catching situation looked as dim as China's economy.

Then the Cole Hamels trade with Texas got Philly catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, 22, who's back on the field in the Gulf Coast League. He seems over his ankle injury and should be a 100 percent by spring training.

Out of the blue comes catching phenom Andrew Knapp, the switch-hitting 23-year-old line drive hitter at Reading. Knapp has made some statements with his bat, too, that says he'll also compete for the catching job.

But Cameron Rupp, is holding down the fort.

With a gun for an arm, and a bat that hits moon shots — and he's no Rod Barajas in defending the patch of real estate called home plate— Cameron Rupp is drawing attention.

He's hot lately, too, hitting .346, 7 HRs, and a .417 OBP, in the last 15 games.  His overall numbers are decent. The higher OBP says pitchers are pitching around him — he's an eight-hole hitter.

It also says he can take a few. If they make a mistake and come in, Rupp will make them pay. When his bat makes contact, the thwack is impressive, even from our Xfinity seats.

Last night, hitting seventh, he hit a three-run bomb in a Phillies win against San Diego.

Rupp's bat and arm are texting messages to Knap and Alfaro: "You want my job? Come take it."

The Faithful love that.

It's uncertain whether Knap and Alfaro will be ready next season.  But if the club is serious about a run in 2016, they might have to replace Carlos Ruiz. On the other hand, he's a good man to have around with a young rotation and two young catchers — Alfaro and Knapp —  coming soon. Besides, he's owed $8.5 million.

Lookit, Carlos  has been one hell of a catcher. The Faithful, like the Mafia, never forget. Chooch could hit .110 and not get booed. Besides, with the Chooooooooch reverberating throughout the park, you can't tell, anyway.

"Bob, that's horrible. They're booing that poor little number 51."

Oh, no, hun, that's Chooch. The fans love him.

"Oh."

Here's the thing. The Phillies catching situation has improved. With Alfaro and Knapp coming to battle for the job, they'll have to get by Camaron Rupp.

And the big dude is staking his claim!

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