Baltimore Orioles: Taking a look at Caleb Joseph’s 2017 season
Now that the Baltimore Orioles are down to only one veteran catcher for the 2018 season, it is time to take a look at his 2017 season.
Caleb Joseph was the Baltimore Orioles second catcher in the platoon that included Welington Castillo
Throughout the 2017 season, Castillo and Joseph ranked high as an offensive tandem when compared to other teams that also used a platoon behind the dish. But, Castillo eventually pulled ahead of Joseph and had his best season.
Numbers at the plate
But, Joseph is a good defensive catcher and a solid hitter. In 2017 he hit .256/.287/.413/.700, which is his best slash in his short history in the MLB. He hit eight home runs and had 28 RBIs. Unfortunately, his strikeout numbers were up. In his 254 at-bats, he had 72 Ks – which was the highest percentage in his career. His walks were down, too – so he could certainly work on patience at the plate for 2018.
Joseph did finish the season with a positive WAR of 1.6, which is a bit short of his best season. In 2015, his WAR was 2.2. Castillo’s WAR was 2.2 in 2018, so they were not too far off from each other, despite the power numbers that Castillo put up in the second half.
Numbers behind the plate
Behind the dish, Joseph put up quality numbers. His fielding percentage was .995 due to three errors. He had to deal with two pass balls and 13 wild pitches throughout the season. Considering the pitchers that he had to work with throughout the season, those numbers aren’t bad.
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Despite the .995 fielding percentage, Joseph had some issues throwing runners out on the bases. He only threw out 18% of runners, which is considerably lower than the league average of 27%. It is also significantly lower than rookie season in 2014, when he threw out 40% of runners who attempted to gain a free base on his watch.
Broke his 2016 streak
For Joseph, 2017 proved that he could provide offense for the team. In 2016, he never earned an RBI. This was not the case in 2017. And that was certainly a streak that needed to be broken. His best game in 2017 was early in the season against the Washington Nationals. He did not cross home plate himself, but he went four for four on May 8 getting hits against Gio Gonzalez and Joe Blanton. One of his singles did result in an RBI, helping the team get the 6-4 win against the Beltway neighbors.
Next: The Orioles have too much to lose in 2018
He’s an affordable catcher who will be heavily relied upon in 2018. He began his career a little later than most and at age 31 is just entering his first year of arbitration. His maturity and ability to call a good game will be appreciated in 2018, as it was in 2017.