- Full name Jason C. Knapp
- Born 08/31/1990 in Westwood, NJ
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School North Hunterdon
Drafted in the 2nd round (71st overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 (signed for $590,000).
View Draft ReportThere is no scouting consensus on righthander Jason Knapp. Some scouts believe he's the top prospect in the Garden State, destined to throw 100 mph in the big leagues, while other scouts see nothing more than arm strength--and one even called him "the most overrated guy in New Jersey." Late in the spring, Knapp was pitching at 94-96 mph in short relief outings, and he could add velocity thanks to his loose arm and projectable 6-foot-5 frame, which started to shed some baby fat this spring. But the rest of Knapp's stuff needs work, as so does his delivery. He tries to throw a three-quarters curveball from a lower arm slot that might be better suited for a slider, but the pitch shows decent depth from time to time. His changeup is also a work in progress but has good arm speed and fade. Knapp has fundamental flaws in his delivery, yet for all that, he could go in the top three rounds--or even rocket into the first round--if a club falls in love with his upside. Like Quinton Miller, he's committed to North Carolina but is considered an easier sign.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Phillies drafted Knapp in the second round in 2008, then sent him to the Indians with three other prospects to acquire Cliff Lee in 2009. While the other players in the deal--Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson--already have reached Cleveland, Knapp offers the greatest upside. He also comes with considerable risk, as he had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies in his shoulder after the 2009 season and missed much of 2010. When healthy, Knapp has a knockout fastball that can sit in the mid-90s and reach 98. If his curveball is working, he's extremely difficult to hit. His curve can be a swing-and-miss pitch, though at times he overthrows it and doesn't stay on top of it. His changeup needs further development as well. Though Knapp has made strides with his mechanics since high school, he still is learning to repeat his delivery and keep his massive frame back over the rubber. He has effort in his high threequarters delivery. Knapp probably will start 2011 in high Class A, with the Indians monitoring his innings to try to keep him healthy. If he proves to be more durable, Knapp could pitch in the front of a big league rotation. If not, his power repertoire could make him a closer.
A second-round pick by the Phillies in 2008, Knapp is the best prospect in the fourplayer package that the Indians received in the Cliff Lee deal last summer. After missing time in 2008 with elbow fatigue, he was on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis at the time of the trade, then had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies in his shoulder after the season. Knapp is a big, strong-bodied pitcher with a quick arm and an electric fastball, working at 93-95 mph with riding life and touching 98. He mixes in a sharp curveball with inconsistent but occasional 12-to-6 break that's in and out of the zone. It's a plus pitch on his best days. He shows feel for his changeup, which could become an average offering. While Knapp has improved his delivery, a major worry among scouts when he was in high school, it's still awkward. He needs to repeat his mechanics with greater frequency and his inverted arm action gives some scouts cause for concern, particularly for a player with a shoulder injury. Knapp was still rehabbing as 2009 came to a close, and the Indians plan to assess his status when he arrives at spring training. If he shows durability, he has the potential to be at least a frontline starter. If his health continues to hamper him, he could be a power closer instead. He should begin 2010 in high Class A.
Knapp jumped up some teams' draft boards with a boost in velocity during an inconsistent spring. He threw a one-hitter in the New Jersey state playoffs, hitting 97 mph, and had an excellent workout for the Phillies, who took him with their fourth selection in June, 71st overall. He signed for $590,000 and threw well in his debut before a tender elbow kept him out of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League playoffs. The Phillies are among those who see Knapp potentially throwing 100 mph in short bursts in the future. He has a high-octane delivery that allows him to pump his fastball into the mid-90s when he's right. He has shown the ability to spin a breaking ball, a power slider with some depth. His changeup also has flashes of plus potential. Knapp loses his delivery regularly, dropping his elbow and getting around on his breaking ball frequently. He also loses his arm slot on his fastball, costing him command. He has a lot of work to do and will require patience. It's hard to find pitchers with Knapp's physicality and arm strength, but also difficult to harness that power for a starting pitcher. The Phillies will keep him in the rotation for now, most likely close to his home at Lakewood in 2009, but scouts already are talking about him as a future power bullpen arm, potentially a closer.
Minor League Top Prospects
A key piece for the Indians when they surrendered Cliff Lee to the Phillies, Knapp is still young and rough around the edges, but his electric arm is hard to ignore. He works at 93-95 mph and touches 98 with a riding fastball that rated as the league's best. As he refines his delivery and repeats it better, he has the potential to add velocity. He adds in a sharp, 12-to-6 curveball that works well off his fastball but is in and out of the zone. He also throws an average changeup. Knapp missed time in 2008 with elbow fatigue and was on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis when he was traded. After the season, the Indians learned he'll need arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies in his shoulder. That's not a long-term worry, but because he has an awkward delivery, health concerns always will be present. Because of that and his largely two-pitch arsenal, he could end up as a power closer.
Knapp's stock surged just before the draft, as his raw arm strength pushed him into second round and earned him a $590,000 bonus. He arrived in the GCL by striking out six over three innings in his lone relief outing of the summer, and he showed improvement throughout the season. Capable of reaching 97 mph with his fastball, Knapp typically pitches at 92-94. Still raw and learning how to pitch, he worked to clean up his slider and changeup. Commanding his arsenal is still a work in progress for Knapp, as is consistently repeating his delivery. However, he walked just two batters in his last three starts. "Once he learns to locate his fastball, it will be an above-average pitch," GCL Phillies manager Doug Mansolino said. "He has come a long way and has gotten better at everything every time out."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the Cleveland Guardians in 2011
- Rated Best Fastball in the South Atlantic League in 2009