The 2017 season is slowly approaching for the Philadelphia Phillies and it looks as though it will be a year of experimentation. With that being said, it looks as though the first experiment to take place is Andrew Knapp at first base.
Knapp has been one of the Phillies middle of the road catching prospects for a couple of years. After having a dominant season in double-A in 2015, the Phillies started him off at triple-A last season in hopes that he could build off his solid progression. Unfortunately, Knapp did not live up to those expectations and produced a mediocre year at the top minor league level.
While last year may not have been stellar for Knapp, he was still in line to join the ball club at some point this season. However, the problem that the Phillies face is the amount of depth they currently have at the catcher position.
Despite not being dominant, Cameron Rupp managed to finish the second half of the season very strong. On top of that, the Phillies have another prospect, Jorge Alfaro, who looks to be improving and could make his way up the Phillies late this year as well. With two younger players already at the position, it makes sense for the Phillies to try Knapp at another position.
The other positive of this is being able to give Tommy Joseph some competition at first base. Tommy Joseph showed signs of having a powerful bat, as evident of him hitting over 20 homeruns last year. While this is certainly good, Tommy was not nearly as productive in terms of drawing walks and hitting for average. That is where Knapp comes in.
Knapp had decent power numbers in the minors, but was a much better hitter for average. If he can show a better ability to get on base than Joseph, he might find himself claiming the starting role at first base before mid season.
With how many question marks the Phillies roster has this season; it makes sense to add as much competition as possible. This dimension will force players to step up in order to keep their starting job and ensure that the Phillies have the best possible guys in the lineup every game.