The Phillies announced on Thursday that they have reached an agreement with their third-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft: catcher Cameron Rupp.
Rupp, who played his college ball at the University of Texas, has the potential to turn into a legitimate hitter in the majors if his numbers in college are any indication.
This past season, Rupp hit .304 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs in 63 games. He also had a .390 on-base percentage and and .483 slugging percentage. If he can keep that going in the next step of his career, he could fly through the Phillies' organization.
The Phils currently have some talent in the majors with Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schneider and Dane Sardinha (who hit his first career home run against the Cleveland Indians Thursday night). However, Ruiz is going to be 32 years-old next year, Schneider is playing on borrowed time and Sardinha isn't getting any younger either.
Grooming a catcher is clearly a need for this organization and Rupp could find himself shooting through the ranks, as the starters age and the prospects before him continue their careers elsewhere.
Lou Marson and Travis D'Arnaud were being groomed to take over for Ruiz, but were traded away in deals for Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, respectively.
Rupp is now officially a Philly and will immediately become a guy the organization pays close attention to as he makes his way through the minors. Hopefully, they can simply hold onto him and groom him to take over in a few years; but it's also just as likely that he's eventually trade bait.