Prospect Profile: RHP Ricky Knapp

A forgotten arm, Knapp is an interesting starter with a little upside, but the ability to eat innings. Drafted in the 8th round, he was expected to move quickly, but hit a few snags. He did very well in the middle minors in 2016 and is poised to possibly help the big club in 2017.

(Helene Haessler/Suncoast Sports Now)

RHP Ricky Knapp (College Stats)

R/R, 6’1″ 215 lbs, 5/20/1992 (24), Drafted by the Mets in the 8th round of the 2013 draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University

2013 21 -0.3 Brooklyn A- 3.76 13 1 0 0 26.1 29 13 11 1 9 19 1.443
2014 22 0.3 Savannah A 4.34 22 20 2 0 120.1 140 72 58 8 39 92 1.488
2015 23 1.0 2 Teams A-A+ 3.05 28 16 2 1 121.0 133 53 41 5 24 96 1.298
2015 23 0.1 St. Lucie A+ 6.59 7 0 0 0 13.2 20 13 10 0 4 5 1.756
2015 23 1.1 Savannah A 2.60 21 16 2 1 107.1 113 40 31 5 20 91 1.239
2016 24 0.2 3 Teams A+-AA-AAA 2.69 25 24 3 1 163.2 148 57 49 6 39 115 1.143
2016 24 -2.7 Las Vegas AAA 5.50 3 3 0 0 18.0 22 11 11 2 7 11 1.611
2016 24 -0.5 Binghamton AA 2.90 6 6 2 0 40.1 31 15 13 0 10 40 1.017
2016 24 0.9 St. Lucie A+ 2.14 16 15 1 1 105.1 95 31 25 4 22 64 1.111
All Levels (4 Seasons) 3.32 88 61 7 2 431.1 450 195 159 20 111 322 1.301

Knapp was always a more advanced pitcher than most. The son of Dodger’s minor league pitching coordinator Rick Knapp, Ricky had an edge on the competition while in high school, and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 44th round in 2010. He chose school, attending Florida Gulf Coast University, and struggled in his freshman year, but then dominated for his sophomore and junior years. After his strong college campaign, he was drafted by the Mets in the eighth round, and given an under slot $130,000 (Slot was $156,500).

After tossing 102.2 innings in his junior year, he went to Brooklyn and pitched 26.1 innings including 12 relief innings and a start to a 3.76 ERA. He jumped up to full season Savannah for the 2014 season and pitched 120.1 innings, but gave up 140 hits, and a 4.34 ERA in 22 outings including 20 starts. He struck out 92 and pitched 2 complete games. It’s hard to take seriously a player who didn’t do well pitching half his games in what was the most extreme pitcher’s park in the game.

The Mets felt that he needed to succeed in Low-A so they sent him back in 2015, and he did much better, pitching to a 2.60 ERA in 21 outings including 16 starts. He struck out 91 in 107.1 innings and threw two complete games, including a shutout. Knapp was then sent up to Hi-A St. Lucie for seven outings in the bullpen and allowed 20 hits 13.2 innings with a 6.39 ERA.

In 2016 he repeated St. Lucie and did extremely well, pitching to a 2.14 ERA in 16 outings including 15 starts. Knapp had a crazy schedule, however, where he was sent to multiple teams including the Double-A Binghamton Mets and Triple-A Las Vegas 51’s. After 83.1 innings and a 1.94 ERA at St. Lucie, Knapp was pushed up to Binghamton for a July 2nd Start. He pitched seven innings and allowed four hits and two earned runs while walking three and striking out four. He was then pushed back down to St. Lucie where he pitched 22 more innings in three starts while allowing 23 hits and seven earned runs, equaling a 2.86 ERA over those three games.

Are you paying attention? Okay. He was sent to Vegas on July 25th, and pitched two games, totaling 12.1 innings, allowing seven earned runs, while walking and striking out six. He was then sent back to Binghamton to pitch on 8/5, where he did very well for five starts, tossing 33.1 innings allowing 11 earned runs while striking out 36 and walking seven. He tossed a complete game, allowing one run and striking out ten on 8/23. On September 2nd, he had one final start for Vegas, tossing 5.2 innings, allowing eight hits, four earned runs, a walk, and struck out five. Overall, despite the literal up-and-down 2016 campaign, Knapp managed to toss 163.2 innings to a tune of 2.69 ERA in 24 starts between Hi-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. Knapp impressively was never knocked out of a game before finishing the fifth inning in 2016, and pitched seven or more innings 11 times, and six or more innings 19 times.

Knapp’s ability to excel makes him someone to watch moving forward, but his ceiling isn’t exactly high. A pitcher with advanced ability, he repeats his clean delivery with ease and his fastball comes in at around 87-92 miles per hour and has touched 93 on occasion, so he isn’t really going to overpower anyone with his stuff.

(Nathaniel Stoltz Youtube Channel)

He has multiple breaking balls though, including an above-average slider and an average curve. His best pitch is his plus change. He has above-average command, which allows him the ability to control all of his pitches well. He has a really skinny build with no projection left, but still can maintain velocity deep into games, making him a good candidate to be a good innings eater at the highest level.

Knapp will likely start where he left off with Vegas in the rotation, with the potential of being an effective back of the rotation type, or possibly a setup man in the future.

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1 Comment

  1. TexasGusCC

    Seems like Knapp isn’t too highly thought of the way he has been yo-yo’d up and down, but since he maintains stamina deep into games, the question a fan would be asking is “Is he a MLB caliber pitcher or not”? When does a team commit to a lesser but known quantity over a project able but unknown quantity when it comes to being given a slot in a rotation?

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