Miami Marlins Season in Review: Aaron Knapp
Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part nine…of 286. Stay tuned.
Aaron Raymond Knapp is a 5’10”, 175 lb. center fielder from Roseville, CA. Born on November 4th, 1994, the Miami Marlins selected him in the eighth round of the 2016 draft with the 233rd overall choice. In three seasons at the University of California before his selection, Knapp slashed .272/.333/.347 in 153 contests, with 30 stolen bases and 62 RBI.
14 men chosen 233rd overall have made their way to the major leagues. Fred McGriff (1981, New York Yankees, 52.6 WAR), Jesse Barfield (1977, Toronto Blue Jays, (39.4), Tom Browning (1982, Cincinnati Reds, 19.8) and Sterling Hitchcock (1989, Yankees, 8.2) lead the “233 club.”
Aaron’s best tool is probably his speed, which grades out at 65. He was also a solid defender with a good arm and better range. In 253 games in the outfield, he racked up 12 errors and 19 assists in 523 total chances for a .977 fielding percentage. He was expected this season to do a solid job for the Jupiter Hammerheads and challenge for a spot with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
After signing with the Miami Marlins for a $170,000 signing bonus, Knapp reported to the short-season low-A New York-Penn League Batavia Muckdogs on June 24th, 2016. In 43 games, he slashed .235/.302/.304 in 253 plate appearances, with 10 extra base hits, 21 RBI, 19 stolen bases in 26 attempts, and 31 runs. He struck out 56 times, 22.1 percent of the time. Knapp had a dozen multi-hit games, including on August 27th in a 13-10 loss to the Staten Island Yankees, when he was three-for-six with two doubles, two runs, and an RBI.
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In 2017, Knapp graduated to the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the low-A South Atlantic League. He played in 119 contests and slashed .218/.317/.302 with five homers, 36 RBI, 59 walks and 59 runs scored. In 509 plate appearances, he struck out 142 times, a 27.9 percent clip which is way too for a top-of-the-order type hitter like Knapp, who also stole 34-of-48 bases. Knapp collected 21 multi-hit games, including six three-hit affairs. On May 13th, he hit a single, a double, and a home run for five RBI in a 14-2 win against the Hickory Crawdads.
Starting again with the Grasshoppers this season, Knapp hit .303/.453/.309 in 21 games, with 19 walks, only 16 strikeouts, and four stolen bases. Good enough, it seemed at the time, to get a look at the high-A Florida State League Jupiter Hammerheads. He played in 74 games for the Sharks, and slashed .230/.364/.286 while striking out 52 times and knocking in 18 runs. The Miami Marlins granted his release on August 7th.
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