It's Monday and that means it's time once again for a Phillies 97.3 ESPN Monday Mailbag. We take your questions every Monday and then we talk about them during the Sports Bash with Mike Gill on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. If you are not in South Jersey, you can listen online at 973espn.com.
Does Andrew Knapp make the opening day roster? If so, how long til he's starter?
Knapp has been a lot of fun to watch in the early going in Spring Training. However, it may be some time until we see him in the Major Leagues, even if he shows that he is a capable hitter and receiver this Spring Training. The reason is that the Phillies have no real roster spot for Knapp as of right now.
Carlos Ruiz is entering the final season of his contract, and unless the Phillies can find a trade partner for Chooch, he will be with the team the duration of the year. Cameron Rupp did a respectable job playing a good amount last season and will get the first crack to take most of the action behind the plate, regardless of how well he hits. Knapp is in a very interesting position; his bat caught fire last season and plenty of scouts feel like he is developing nicely behind the plate.
Knapp is likely to start the season as the primary backstop for the Lehigh ValleyIron Pigs, sharing the position with Gabriel Lino. New acquisition J.P. Arencibia will get some time behind the plate at Lehigh Valley too, possibly leading to Knapp getting some work at other positions. Knapp might see some time in the outfield and at first base. The Phillies really do not have a first baseman beyond 2016, and with Jorge Alfaro also nicely progressing, one of Knapp or Alfaro may end up at first base.
For now, Knapp will likely be in AAA and catching.
How long does the front office keep Jake Thompson in Leigh Valley?
Thompson impressed during his first Grapefruit League action. In two innings, Thompson allowed three hits and one unearned run. Thompson is certainly in the Phillies plans, but just not yet.
As we have written before, the Phillies have as many 10 starters whom they are considering for the near future. Aaron Nola, Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton, and Jerad Eickhoff are pretty much locks. Vincent Velasquez and Brett Oberholtzer are the frontrunners competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, but the conversation also includes Adam Morgan, David Buchanan, Severino Gonzalez and Alec Asher.
Come July or August, the Phillies may have traded either Hellickson or Morton to a contender, opening a couple spots. Whoever is pitching as if they belong in the Major Leagues at Lehigh Valley will get the call first. While the Phillies do not expect to have Thompson in Philadelphia in the near future, in some sense Thompson can easily make them reconsider with strong play. Remember, injuries happen frequently enough that could help speed up his call. But with the depth the Phillies have, they may be more likely to try one of the aforementioned five starters first.
Will Asche gets the most chances at LF?
Asche has yet to play in Grapefruit League action, due to a small oblique injury. While Asche is in a position where he needs to impress, he will have to play catch up. Asche's absence has led to more opportunities for the likes of David Lough and Tyler Goeddel. Goeddel may play himself into contention for a platoon spot with Asche. However, there are other factors that could play into how much time Asche sees.
Aaron Altherr, most likely the Phillies starting right fielder in 2016, flew back to Philadelphia on Sunday to look at his injured wrist. Altherr dove for a ball in right field and landed on his wrist. If Altherr misses time that means more chances for Goeddel, Asche, and Peter Bourjos.
Asche thinks he could return to Grapefruit League action soon. Once he does we will have a better sense of what is going to happen.