Tuesday will be the first day of full team workouts in the Phillies major league spring training camp. All 58 of them will be ready to begin rounding into shape. Only 25 will make the opening day roster. One of the most watch position will be catching. Current starter is fan favorite Carlos “Chooch Ruiz”. But Ruiz turned 36 last month and has not caught more than 114 games in any of the last three seasons.
The catching position is one of the most demanding mentally and physically position in all of sports. So who will back up Chooch? The Phillies have six catcher in the major league camp but it looks like Cameron Rupp has the inside track to back up Chooch. Rupp was a Phillies third round draft pick in 2010. The 26 year old looks in the best shape of his career and has been driving the ball hard in catchers batting practice. In today’s BP I saw him drive two balls off the wall of the Phillies clubhouse beyond the left field wall of Ashburn Field.
But the backup catcher is not expected to hit. He is expected to be a “catch and throw” receiver who plays maybe once a week to give the starting catcher a rest. Last season Rupp threw out 39% of the runner who attempted to steal on him in 18 major league games he played. The league average for a catcher was 28%. He had only one passed ball and two errors in the 185 innings he played for the Phillies. He is what you want in your second catcher, good defense with the ability to take the ball deep from time to time.
The other catcher who showed pop today in BP was Tommy Joseph. Often injured in previous seasons, Tommy looks ready for a big injury-free season. I would not be surprised to see him as the starting catcher for the Reading Fightin’ Phillies. Tommy dropped the barrel head of the bat on one BP pitch and easily drove it over the left field fence.
In the afternoon Baseball Betsy and I went around the corner at the Complex to Roberts Field to check up on our minor league guys who reported early to camp. Most of them are catchers and pitchers but we did see Zach Green at third, Tyler Henson at short and Carlos Alonso at second taking infield ground balls from infield coach Chris Truby. Also three outfielders were in the minor league camp taking fly balls, Carlos Tocci, Jiandido Tromp and Roman Quinn. Tomorrow, we expect to see some live batting practice which will be thrown by several of the minor league pitchers already in camp. Several other of our minor league pitching friends have Facebooked Baseball Betsy that they will here next Tuesday to start their spring training workouts.
Below are several photos we took of Cameron Rupp and Tommy Joseph from today’s spring training action: