Cameron Rupp had a good go at it in his four September starts with the Phillies last season, hitting .308 with two ribbies in 13 at-bats. Nice job, but it doesn't trump a combined .258 average in 2013 combined between Reading (.245) and Lehigh Valley (.269).
In fact, you probably would not be reading about Rupp at all if it wasn't for a few words and a hearty endorsement from an umpire, yes an umpire. In Rupp's major league debut (which included a nice face plant on his first hit), home plate umpire Mark Wegner approached Ryne Sandberg to compliment Rupp on his positioning behind the plate.
“I could see where an umpire can see the ball well coming in,” Sandberg said. “We didn’t know anybody that’s really done that too often, make a compliment like that about a catcher. So that was pretty impressive.”
Nice story, indeed, and there is some potential there. He is a big dude (listed as 6'1", 240 lbs.), hit 14 homers in 95 minor league games last year, and clearly frames pitches nicely and positions himself well.
But he is nowhere near refined enough offensively to warrant a starting job and likely not even as a backup. He moves pretty well behind the plate for a man his size, but will probably never be an above average defensive catcher. Read Crashburn Alley's recent post for a terrific scouting report.
Rupp is likely destined for another year in the minors, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him in the bigs very soon. His dedication helped vault him from third on the Phillies minor league depth chart to #1 in short time. A few years ago the future star was Sebastian Valle, but he crumbled like a bag of chips. Last year it was Tommy Joseph, who many felt was the second coming of Christ after he chatted it up with Roy Halladay in Spring Training. Now, after a concussion completely wiped out Joseph's 2013 season, Rupp is tops on the list.
Rupp could be a quality backup down the road, but he is no replacement for Chooch.
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