Any attempt to determine the future lineup of the Philadelphia Phillies based on the most current one Tuesday night had to be an exercise in futility. They started a shortstop, Freddy Galvis, at third and a second baseman, Cesar Hernandez, in center.
Still, the 2-1 win over the host Miami Marlins gave a glimpse into what might be the backup catching situation going forward in that Cameron Rupp has done nothing but impress in his short time with the big club. Rupp’s second major league start showed he could be in the mix to challenge for the No. 2 role next season.
Rupp had a hit in the win, but that wasn’t as important as the fact that he handled stop-gap starter Zach Miner and a four relievers flawlessly.
Now that the Phillies seem to be set on signing current starter Carlos Ruiz to a contract in the offseason, the focus on the position is now on the backup spot and the Phillies like what they’ve seen of Rupp. He was the starting catcher this year for the Reading team in double-A and the Lehigh Valley team in triple-A.
Rupp had 14 home runs and 45 RBIs split between the two teams this summer and has always been a solid defensive catcher. When the Phillies drafted him in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft out of the University of Texas, they had hopes that he would be the heir apparent to Ruiz, but Rupp’s minor league numbers never matched his outstanding NCAA numbers.
Last year, they traded Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for three players, one of whom was catcher Tommy Joseph. They had hopes that Joseph would assume that backup role, but he has been plagued by injuries and an inability to hit at the minor league level, and Rupp has now surpassed him.
With nothing on the line, the Phillies took a look at Rupp as a catcher of the future, and he gave them enough reason to believe he could be in next year’s plans.