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Breakout or Bust: Is Cameron Rupp A Worthy Low-End Option Heading Into ’17?

Saturday, October 22, 2016 5:15
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was clear that Phillies were rebuilding, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when they finally shipped Carlos Ruiz to Los Angeles. The move opened up playing time for Cameron Rupp, who had been seeing ample AB anyways (he finished the year with 389 AB). What did he do with the opportunity? He certainly gave reason to believe that he can excel in the Majors:

.252, 16 HR, 54 RBI

It’s a solid line, but we need to think twice before dubbing him an option in single-catcher formats heading into 2017. His average is a significant question, and we saw it in the second half (.211). He struggled all year to make contact (27.2% strikeout rate) and tohit the ball with authority (17.4% line drive rate), never a good combination.

His ability to make consistent contact is a major one, after he posted a 13.3% SwStr%. We’d feel better about an improvement if it was one pitch he struggled with, but his Whiff% was elevated against all types:

  • Hard – 12.40%
  • Breaking – 18.69%
  • Offspeed – 18.10%

For a player who is never likely to maintain an elevated BABIP, it seems unlikely that he ever posts a usable average (think .240 or below).

As for the power, it was a nice showing but is it really enough to blow you away? Sure he’s always shown some pop coming up through the minors, but a 20ish HR catcher with a poor batting average isn’t a rare commodity.

As it is the potential of Jorge Alfaro, who is considered a much better hitting catcher, will eventually eat into Rupp’s playing time. While he was a nice story, especially early in the season, there is little reason to be excited about Rupp moving forward. Maybe he holds short-term appeal, but ultimately he’s not an option in most formats.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball


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