Another night, another hard to figure loss for the Clearwater Threshers. They were up 5-1 after three innings but could not hold the lead and lost 6-5 in 11 innings to fall to a minor league worst 8-27 record.
Veteran Phillies minor league pitcher Brody Colvin started but struggled with control and left in the fourth inning. Jeb Stefan was sharp in middle relief giving up only one run in 4.1 innings. Closer Jordan Guth came on in the ninth and was touch up for the tying run by the Jupiter Hammerheads which led to yet another loss.
Not all was lost however. The Threshers DH, Andrew Knapp, is proving he is a legitimate major league prospect. Recovering from Tommy John surgery, he has been limited to the DH role but he came up big last night with two singles to drive in two runs which put the Threshers into the brief lead. SEE HERE, SEE HERE.
In six games as the DH since coming over from extended spring training, Knapp is 3 for 7 with runner in scoring position and showing signs of a good clutch hitter. Last night one of his RBI singles was with two outs. He hit .270 with runners in scoring position and two outs last year with Williamsport.
The turning point in last night games was in the bottom of the 10th inning with the score tied at 5-5. The Threshers had runners on first and second and no outs. Then Manager Nelson Prada had Knapp attempt a sacrifice bunt. He eventually was out on a fouled third strike bunt attempt.
With two strikes on Knapp, it would have been the perfect development opportunity to let him swing away to attempt to win the game. I do not think the Phillies gave Knapp his million dollar signing bonus last year to sacrifice bunt with two strikes on him in that situation.
Knapp is a catcher by trade but I have yet to see him play in the field. He was a second round, 53rd overall, pick out of the University of California in last year’s draft. He reported directly to Williamsport where he hit .253 with 30 runs scored and 23 RBIs in 62 games. He caught in 21 of those games before his injury.
I was impressed with Knapp when I saw him hit in extended spring training games but he appeared to have more power from the right side. However, he has hit for a better average from the left side so far in his brief pro career. Last year with the Crosscutters, he hit .267 left handed and only .214 right handed. With the Threshers he is hitting 0 for 5 right-handed and 5 for 18 left- handed.
The Phillies have drafted well in making shortstop J.P. Crawford a No. 1 pick and Andrew Knapp a No. 2 pick in last year’s draft. With Knapp still recovering from Tommy John surgery we will have to wait to see what kind of catcher the 22 year old will be, but he looks like a good clutch hitter if given the opportunity so far in the Florida State League.