Cameron Rupp put up uninspiring numbers in what will probably be his final year as the Phillies' starting catcher. He hit just .217 with a .299 on-base percentage, and his 34.4 percent strikeout rate was eighth-worst among hitters with at least 300 plate appearances. The batting-average drain largely offset his considerable power contributions. The Phillies have a pair of younger, more exciting catchers who should cause Rupp to lose significant playing time in 2018, and could even cost him his roster spot entirely. Jorge Alfaro, a highly-rated prospect who hit .318/.360/.514 in 29 games last season, will look to take Rupp's starting job -- the transition began last August. That would leave Rupp battling for backup duties with 26-year-old Andrew Knapp, who posted an fWAR nearly identical to Rupp's mark in 32 fewer games last season. There is little reason to consider Rupp as a second catcher in mixed leagues.
Rupp agreed to a one-year, $2.05 million contract with the Phillies on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration, Matt Gelb of the Philly Inquirer reports. Rupp slashed .217/.299/.417 with 14 home runs and 34 RBI in 88 games for the Phillies last season. The catcher will likely take on a reserve role in 2018, as Jorge Alfaro is assumed to hold down the starting spot. With Andrew Knapp also on the roster, Rupp may receive even less playing time, but that will depend on new manager Gabe Kapler's stance on keeping two or three active catchers. For fantasy purposes, Rupp is unlikely to make much of an impact barring an injury to Alfaro, and could be competing for a roster spot come spring training.
Rupp went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in an 8-1 win over the Marlins on Wednesday. Rupp has made just five starts in September and his playing time is going to continue to be limited with the Phillies looking to get Jorge Alfaro at-bats as they evaluate him with an eye toward next season. Rupp is a candidate to be traded this offseason with Alfaro and Andrew Knapp expected to split catching duties next season.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Rupp will catch Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff exclusively while Andrew Knapp (hand) is sidelined, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. Mackanin will mix in playing time for Rupp and rookie Jorge Alfaro when the Phillies' other three starters are pitching. Rupp has started four of the last seven games behind the dish. The catching rotation will become a little more complicated next month when Knapp is expected to return from the disabled list and Alfaro will be able to remain with the team due to roster expansion.
Rupp is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Mets. Rupp is serving as the Phillies' primary backstop in the extended absence of Andrew Knapp (hand), but he will make his way to the bench in favor Jorge Alfaro as the team wraps up its weekend series against Chris Flexen and the Mets.
Rupp will start at catcher and bat eighth Tuesday against the Braves. With Andrew Knapp (hand) landing on the 10-day disabled list earlier Tuesday, Rupp looks bound to handle primary catching duties for the Phillies until Knapp is cleared to return. Rupp will collect his fifth start in six games Tuesday after going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and RBI in Sunday's series finale against the Rockies.