SCOUTING REPORT: Andrew Knapp
With the 53rd overall pick in the MLB Draft, the Philadelphia Phillies picked up one of the best pure hitters in the Pac-12 in California catcher Andrew Knapp.
Knapp was a preseason All-American and a first-team All-Pac-12 selection this past season, after batting a team-leading .350 (third in Pac-12) with a team-high 16 doubles, eight home runs and 41 RBI in 2013. He also hit a team-best .392 (20-for-51) with runners in scoring position.
Knapp ranked fourth in the conference with a .544 slugging percentage, and fourth in the conference with a .434 on-base percentage.
In his career, Knapp hit .294, with 82 RBIs, 14 home runs and 35 doubles in 137 games.
The switch-hitting Knapp had near-identical batting averages from both sides of the plate for much of the season, before finishing 2013 hitting .318 vs. lefties (21-for-66) and .364 (51-for-140) vs. righties.
In 2012, Knapp hit .178 vs. lefties (8-for-45) and .289 (48-for-166) against righties. As a freshman, Knapp hit .235 against southpaws (4-for-17) and .204 (10-for-49) against right-handers.
Knapp also features the exact same swing from both sides of the dish, which mitigates any extraneous mechanical issues that other switch hitters have to navigate.
The 6-foot-1, 192-pounder only caught full-time this past season, owing to two-time all-conference backstop Chadd Krist playing in front of him during his freshman and sophomore seasons, and his defense behind the dish – particularly the energy with which he catches – is in need of work.
Knapp allowed a league-high 15 passed balls this season, and his lack of experience and energy catching a young staff contributed to the Bears' 55 wild pitches on the season. He does have one plus tool behind the plate: His arm. He threw out 34.4% of would-be base-stealers this past season, fourth in the conference.
An all-around standout athlete out of Granite Bay (Calif.) High School, Knapp played safety in his prep days and runs well for a catcher, but is by no means speedy. Knapp has experience playing first base and left field, and projects as a corner outfielder at the next level. The main attraction, though, and his best tool is by far, is his bat.
Knapp has power to all fields, a mature approach at the plate and a short, compact swing that will translate well to the next level. He was prone to strikeouts early in his career, fanning 57 times to just 30 walks, but this past season he struck out 35 times and took 27 walks, 12th in the Pac-12.
The son of 11-year minor league veteran Mike Knapp, Andrew has been around baseball his entire life. That maturity was evident early in his career, when he came up with a game-winning RBI single in his first-ever collegiate plate appearance in the second game of the 2011 season against Utah. That season, he hit .360 with runners in scoring position.
This past summer, Knapp fared well in the Cape Cod league, playing with the Chatham Anglers. He hit .293 with 13 doubles, eight homers and 29 RBIs in 40 games.
Ryan Gorcey covers Major League Baseball and publishes CalSportsDigest.com for Scout.com and FOX Sports NEXT. Follow him on twitter at @RGBearTerritory.
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