Name: Tommy Joseph
DOB: July 16,1991
Height: 6′ 1″
Drafted: Drafted in the 2nd round (#55 overall) in the 2009 draft by the San Francisco Giants, $712,500 signing bonus
Acquired: Acquired in a trade with the San Francisco along with Nate Schierholtz and Seth Rosin in exchange for Hunter Pence
Pre Draft Report: Joseph was one of the best high school catchers in the 2009 draft class. He played both catcher and first base in high school, shifting to more catcher in the spring. He is still a work in progress behind the plate and it will be his above average bat for the position that will carry him. He has drawn comparisons to Mike Napoli and Kelly Shoppach. His power is well above average having hit some bombs in showcase events.
Career Synopsis: Joseph did not sign earlier enough to play in 2009 but earned a ranking as the #6 prospect in the system by Baseball America and as the #9 prospect by Kevin Goldstein and Baseball Prospectus.
Joseph made his full season debut in the SAL, where he put up impressive power numbers but showed some issues making contact. His final numbers were .236/.290/.401 with 16HR in 462 PAs enough to earn him the #10 ranking in the Giants’ system by Baseball America and #8 from Baseball Prospectus.
In 2011 the Giants sent Joseph to the high octane environment of the Cal League. Joseph showed improvement both at the plate and behind it. He earned honors as the best defensive catcher in the league while posting great numbers at the plate with a .270/.317/.471 line with 22 home runs. This earned him the #11 ranking in the Cal League by Baseball America and the #2 ranking in the Giants system, as well as the #4 ranking in the Giants system by BP.
In 2012 Joseph started for the Giants Eastern League affiliate, his year was not spectacular over the first half but it earned him a trip to the Futures Game for the USA team. On July 31 he was traded to the Phillies, where he played where he was assigned to Reading. His numbers were down from 2011 with his final line of .257/.317/.399 with 11 HRs in 449 PAs. While his power and contact numbers were down his walk rate rose from 5% to 8%. He earned the #10 prospect rank in BA’s Eastern League Top 20. After the EL season Joseph was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he struggled after an illness kept him out of games for the first few weeks. After the 2012 season he was rated the #3 prospect in the Phillies system by Baseball America and the #6 prospect by Baseball Prospectus.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Joseph’s tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment.
Hit For Average: 40/45
Hit For Power: 60
Throwing Arm: 65
Summary: Joseph has plus power for a catcher which will be his carrying tool, the question is whether he will make enough contact to make it play in games. He has an outstanding arm behind the plate and has made huge improvements behind the plate, but he still struggles to block balls in the dirt. Joseph played some first base in the Giants system due to the presence of Buster Posey. Joseph projects as somewhere between a first division starter and above average regular with elite makeup so there is a chance that he continues to make huge strides and close up the holes in his game.
Upside: Joseph is never going to be an elite defender behind the plate but he could be above average especially in stopping the running game with his plus arm. Joseph has huge raw power but he does not always make enough contact to show it in game situations. Joseph has showed increased patience in each of his years in the minors. With a good fall and spring he could start 2013 in AAA or he could return to AA to start the year. Either way his major league ETA is like late 2013 but he could easily take another couple of years in the minors.
Update: Joseph’s career as a catcher in the Phillies’ organization was derailed by several concussions. During rehabs at the Complex in Clearwater, the Phillies tried him in left field, third base and first base. Joseph began 2016 at Lehigh Valley at first base and was called up to Philadelphia on May 13, 2016. By the end of the season, he had won the starting job at first base. Joseph hit 21 HR and led the team with a .505 SLG.
Profile updated: 1/23/2017