Phillies honor prospects Andrew Knapp, Ricardo Pinto with Paul Owens Award
Andrew Knapp received the Paul Owens Award before the Phillies game on Thursday along with Ricardo Pinto.
Phillies prospect Andrew Knapp said the end of double-A Reading's season was disappointing. The Fightin Phils fell in the Eastern League championship after taking a 2-1 series lead.
"You have to be able to go and experience that and learn how to play those big games in order to pull it out in the end," Knapp said. "If losing the Eastern League championship helps us win a World Series someday, then it was worth it."
Knapp, a switch-hitting catcher, was a big piece of Reading's team after he was promoted there in June from high-A Clearwater. He received the Paul Owens Award before Thursday's game against the Mets along with Clearwater righthander Ricardo Pinto. The award is given out each year to the organization's top minor-league pitcher and position player.
Knapp batted .360 and hit 11 homers with 56 RBIs in 55 games at Reading. The 23-year-old improved this season with his defensive work and calling games. He will play in next month's Arizona Fall League, which is a collection of some of baseball's top prospects.
Pinto started the season at single-A Lakewood before spending the second half in Clearwater. He developed an effective slider, which he matched with a changeup and a fastball. He compiled a 2.97 ERA in 1451/3 innings. The 21-year-old pitched aggressively, often commanding the inside part of the plate.
"You've got guys winning MVPs of leagues and putting up huge numbers, so for me to get this honor," said Knapp, who recently shaved off his trademark mustache. "It validates it a little more. I put a lot of hard work in the offseason and for it to pay off like this is really encouraging."
Knapp will likely begin next season at triple-A Lehigh Valley. It would not be a surprise to him reach the majors sometime next season. His long-term future at catcher could come down to a competition between himself and Jorge Alfaro, who was acquired from Texas as part of the Cole Hamels' trade. Alfaro is considered one of baseball's best catching prospects, but he most of the season with an ankle injury.
"If we're going to be teammates, then you can't wish for anyone to do bad," Knapp said. "I hope the best for him. But for me, I just have to worry about myself and do what I do. The cards will fall where they may."