With just about an hour left in the non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies made a bit of a splash when they acquired catcher Wilson Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named later or cash. The only catch is that Ramos isn’t immediately available because he’s working his way back from a hamstring injury that forced him to the disabled list in mid-July. The Rays projected that Ramos, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, is still at least two weeks away from returning to the lineup but the Phillies are hoping he won’t take any longer than two weeks.
Ramos was selected to play in the All-Star Game for the second time in three seasons but missed the game because of the injury.
In looking at the numbers – both offensively and defensively – Ramos is above major league averages in many categories. Over the past two seasons, Ramos has hit .294 with an .821 OPS and all other catchers in the majors have a .242 average and .707 OPS during that same time period. This season, Ramos is hitting .297/.346/.488 with 14 home runs and 53 RBI in 315 plate appearances with the Rays. He’s also thrown out 31-percent of would-be basestealers in his career as compared to the 28-percent thrown out by catchers across Major League Baseball in that time frame. This season, however, Ramos has tossed out 22-percent compared to the league average of 28-percent.
While current catcher Jorge Alfaro has thrown out 32-percent of basestealers this season, his ability to block balls in the dirt has always been an issue with him defensively. Overall, Alfaro has a .989 fielding percentage this season with eight passed balls and Ramos has a .993 fielding percentage with six passed balls.
Andrew Knapp has been somewhat of a defensive liability as a catcher with just a .977 fielding percentage and a 17-percent success rate in throwing out basestealers. The league average for fielding percentage for a catcher is .993 this season.
The Phillies as a team have the most passed balls in the National League and have the second highest number of wild pitches.
It’s likely that Ramos, 30, will take over as the number-one catcher when he comes off of the DL and Knapp will find himself optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley until September 1st when teams can recall more players thanks to expanded roster capabilities. Alfaro won’t be the odd-man-out because he is out of options and would need to clear waivers to be moved to the minors and it’s highly unlikely he would clear.