With Matt Wieters potentially landing on the disabled list – and potentially missing an extensive period of time – the Orioles have catcher Caleb Joseph waiting in the wings. The 27-year-old can probably run for mayor in Bowie at this point in his career, logging over 1700 plate appearance for the Baysox from 2010-2013.
Joseph has always shown some ability to hit with a career .268/.327/.427 batting line in the minors. Not bad for a catcher, right?
Of course, we all know that a catcher has a multitude of responsibilities in the game of baseball, often making it one of the toughest positions for a player to perform – and stick long term. Not only does a catcher need to show some life in the bat, but they need to handle the every day responsibilities of the pitching staff. This factor is huge and overlooked far too often. There is a reason guys stick around the game hitting under the Mendoza line. Luckily for Joseph, he has 80-grade makeup and I have always thought he handled pitching staffs well. One of my favorite memories since I have started watching minor league baseball involves Butch Davis and Caleb Joseph talking about everything and nothing for 30 minutes during batting practice. It’s been a long seven seasons toiling in the minors, but Caleb Joseph might finally get a chance.
Below is a traditional scouting report on Joseph using the 20-80 scouting scale:
Note: This report is from eyewitness looks in 2013 and Spring Training 2014. I have not seen him in AAA-Norfolk
|Hit||40||Good, but not great eye; plate discipline is best tool; sometimes struggles against high-end velocity; swing can become inconsistent; hands sometimes drift; average bat speed; cut back on slight hand wrap last year.|
|Power||50||Arc in swing; average raw power; torque in hips gives max effort in swing; power is evident in games.|
|Speed||40||Speed is decent for a catcher; not a threat on bases; more agility than speed.|
|Glove||30||Improved footwork over the years but still poor; slow feet; feet can get tied up; struggles to drop down and block pitches; hands can become mechanical with pitch framing.|
|Arm||40||Fringe arm; pop times 1.99 – 2.10; accuracy is poor and under-throws too often; choppy footwork hurts throws; not a weapon.|
Long term, Joseph is not a catching option for the Orioles. He may be able to fill a role in the short-term, and may even hit enough to stick with it if needed for an expanded period of time. Joseph is one of the toughest types of players to grade, as he has been in the minors for such a long time now that it is almost too easy overlooking some of his attributes. I do think the bat can have enough short-term value for the Orioles until they were to find a better option. Do not expect to see anything close to Wieters behind the plate – which is not fair for Joseph anyways.