10/4/2020 : 2020 Phillies Review/2021 look ahead - Catchers
Here’s an early look at where things stand now for the catching position inclusive of where some receivers might project for the 2021 season. I won’t touch upon all ... gotta leave some intrigue for the winter months 🤓.
Bryce Harper and most every Phillie fan I know wants the club to re-sign pending free agent JT Realmuto. He’s certainly the best at his position in today’s game. JT will celebrate his 30th birthday in March and is reportedly looking to sign a record setting deal for MLB catchers. He’s coming off a hip injury and although he played the last week of the 2020 season it was quite noticeable that he was hampered. The question at hand for teams considering his future employ ... is it worth committing thereabout $23 to 25 million a year for at least three to four years, perhaps more ?? That’s the question the Phillies owner must answer ... if he doesn’t some other team very likely will. After re-assigning Matt Klentak to a new role yesterday, John Middleton stated that the uncertainty of future revenue streams might preclude the team from signing JT albeit it is a priority. He fully expects Realmuto to test the free agent market.
Soon to be 29 year old Andrew Knapp had a very solid 2020 season as the backup catcher ... he’s always been very solid in that role, especially in the clubhouse and in game preparation, is very well regarded amongst his peers. If Realmuto doesn’t return it’s likely Andrew would assume the brunt of the catching duties.
Two youngsters caught the brunt of the innings at the Alternate Camp ... 21 year old Rafael Marchan and 20 year old Logan O’Hoppe. Both have very promising futures. Marchan made his major league debut in 2020 and hit his first professional home run in the show. He had never played above the advanced A level before. It’s likely he is assigned to Reading in 2021 with Lehigh Valley being a possible destination at some point as well. O’Hoppe played at Williamsport in 2019 and was targeted for low A Lakewood before the pandemic occurred. He’s got all the skills to be a big leaguer but needs to play to garner experience. I still see him starting at Low A in 2021 but the High A level isn’t out of the question.
If Realmuto indeed moves on the Phillies will need to bring in another veteran catcher to partner with Knapp and likely a couple more veterans to contribute or compete for roles at Lehigh Valley.
Lehigh Valley/Reading :
Twenty five year old Henri Lartigue is likely assigned to AAA to begin 2021, he played at Reading in 2019 and spent a good amount of time this year in big league spring training, summer camp and at the alternate site.
Rodolfo Duran - coming off a 2019 knee injury he turns 23 in February - if now healthy, seems like a Reading probable in 2021.
Colby Fitch - also coming off a 2019 knee injury ... the 25 year old is also seemingly a AA level target.
Edgar Cabral is now 25 years old ... he’s coming back from TJ surgery and is presumably healthy now to play in 2021.
Jack Conley ( 23 yrs old ) and Nick Matera ( 24 years old ) are two others who should compete for high level minor league roster spots.
Abrahan Guitierrez - the 20 year old spent most of the summer working out in Clearwater - High A seems to be his starting destination for 2021
Juan Aparicio - another 20 year old - excellent hitter - low A seems likely for 2021
Mitchel Edwards - the 21 year old will get to play in his native Australia this winter - probable low A assignment for 2021 but could also see High A
Herb Iser - the 22 year old will be 23 in December ... he’s played only short season ball to date ... I like his swing and mechanics - could be pushed to High A to start 2021
Vito Friscia - he will be 24 in December ... has a ferocious swing with very high exit velocity - might be moved more to first base full time in 2021 as there is a shortage there in the system - if so I could see him at the High A level to start
Andrick Nava - he’s just 18 but this kid can rake ... with only one year of pro ball under his belt and work to do defensively he could repeat GCL but the talent may likely dictate a move to low A to begin 2021
Freddy Francisco - he will be 20 in February ... hasn’t seen a great deal of action due to lingering injuries but when he’s played I really like what I’ve seen ... big frame with a canon for a arm and very good blocking skills ... likely a GCL start in 2021 but I think he will see full season play at least at some point during the coming season.
Will get to First and Second Basemen next ....
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️
File Photo courtesy of Cheryl Pursell