Clearwater Threshers third string catcher Bob Stumpo had not played at all in the first six games of the season as No. 1 Logan Moore, with a great throwing arm, and No. 2 Josh Ludy carried the load behind the plate. Last night Stumpo cames off the bench to get his first start and homers in his first at bat of the season. He goes two for four and drives in three runs in the 12 run, 15 hit attack in beating the Daytona Cubs 12-2.
Stumpo caught starting pitcher Perci Garner who added to his streak of retiring the last 16 batters he faced in his first start by retiring the first five batters against the D-Cubs. Perci went on to pick up his first win giving up two runs and striking out five over six innings.
Earlier in the day we watched a couple of extended spring training games against the Pirates at the Complex and saw young teenage rookie catchers Jose Mayorga line a base hit up the middle and later watched catcher Deivy Grullon, as a DH, hammer a high fastball over the center fielder head for a double.
The Phillies catching depth has been one of the strong point that I have witnessed this spring. From top to bottom the team seems strong behind the plate. So strong in fact that catcher Gabreil Lino, acquired from the Orioles in the Jim Thome deal last season, was kept in extended spring training and was catching in the other extended game against the Pirates.
Though I did not see Chooch Ruiz yesterday, the Phillies starting All Star catcher has been playing in extended spring and is expected to play with the Threshers later in the month for three games before going north and returning to the Phillies starting lineup in late April after his 25 game suspension is served.
With Ruiz eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season it will be interesting to see if he will re-sign with the Phillies. At baseball age 34 he is getting old for a catcher to get a long term deal. In the wings are major league catching projects Tommy Joseph at AAA and Cameron Rupp at AA. Former top catching prospect is splitting time not only with Rupp but is play some in left field as well just to get playing time. Joseph has struggled defensively with six passed balls so far but Cameron Rupp has been on fire at the bat hitting .320 in the early going. At low A Lakewood the catchers there Chad Carmen is hitting .364 and Chace Numata is hitting .333. They are two of the few bright spots in the early going for the 1-7 team.
From top to bottom the Phillies organization is well stock with catching prospects for now and way into the future.