Matt Wieters will be visiting Dr. James Andrews today to get his sore right elbow/forearm examined, and the Baltimore Orioles have a plan in place in case Wieters has to head to the DL as they had Norfolk Tides catcher Caleb Joseph taken out of the lineup last night as the backup plan.
Joseph, was a seventh round selection of the Orioles in the 2008 MLB draft out of Lipscomb University. He has been with the Tides all season, and spent last season with the Bowie Baysox. Over the winter we handed out our 2013 Orioles Minor League Player of the Year awards and Joseph garnered our position player of the year honor. (View article here)
He played the entire 2013 season with the Baysox and posted a .299 average with 22 home runs, 31 doubles, 97 RBI and an impressive .840 OPS. In addition, he recorded 155 hits, 74 runs, 256 total bases and posted a .346 on base percentage.
How good was he? Well he earned a Player of the Week Award for the Eastern Shore League during the season, was named a EAS Post-Season All Star and was also named the Topps Eastern Shore League Player of the Year.
Joseph was one of the most dominant offensive players in the Orioles organization this year and vastly improved his power numbers. He also played in the Venezuela Winter League this past fall and posted a .231 average with three homers, 11 RBI, and four doubles in 91 at bats.
This season, he is currently hitting .261 with two home runs, 11 RBI and eight runs scored in 95 plate appearances with the Tides and has caught in 21 games.
If Joseph does get the call due to a Wieters DL stint, we look for Joseph and Steve Clevenger to split time due to Joseph's track record against left handed pitching and his .467 average (14-30) against lefties this season shows how deadly he can be against south paws.
Offense has never really been a concern with Joseph as he has some power, and hits at a pretty good average for a catcher, but it is his defense that has been the issue. In regards to defense, his ability to throw out base runners has been great as he boasts a career 34% caught stealing rate, which is a good number. The issue is his blocking ability behind the dish as he has allowed double digit passed balls in each of the past four seasons and has already allowed two this season.
Although he has never played in a Major League game, Joseph is certainly not an unbearable option as he brings a good bat with him and he can throw out base runners. With no offense to Joseph himself, hopefully we will not have to find out how he will perform on the MLB stage just yet, as the hope is that Wieters is OK.
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