The Prospects are Coming!: Tommy Joseph
Throughout the season, the Phillies will be calling up a number of prospects from their minor league system. I will profile each prospect as they arrive. Joseph is the first of the call-ups and he definitely will not be the last! With some rebuilding deals made in the past year, this system is loaded with arms and has bats such as JP Crawford, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro. Safe to say the Prospects Are Coming!
You won’t find Joseph’s name on any top 10 lists. But Joseph has put together a great start in Triple A and could translate that into a starting role in the bigs. He has been injury riddled since joining the Phillies organization but looks to have put that behind him since the permanent move to first base. During Ruben Amaro Jr’s tenure, he made some bad moves, one of the worst was the package Amaro dealt for Hunter Pence. Pence was productive during his time with the Phillies but he was only a 1.5 season rental. That is why it was very important he hit on one of the prospects that he got back for Pence. Joseph very well might be the last chance for that trade to be considered in any way productive. The Phillies acquired him back in 2012, along with Nate Schierholtz and Seth Rosin. At the time of the deal, Joseph was ranked the #2 prospect in the SF system. Tommy Joseph was the big piece in this deal for the Phillies.
After looking at his picture, you might think he is 35 maybe 40, but he is only 24 years old and can still be of value to the Phillies. There is no discussion about it, Ryan Howard is done, after this season he will be gone. Probably to an AL team where he can live out the rest of his career strictly at DH against right-handed pitchers. The Phillies have no long-term answer at first base and Joseph could be able to find a role in the Phillies lineup sooner rather than later.
In high school, he played 1B for three years but was a catcher for his senior year. Joseph decided to forego college after being drafted in the second round 55th overall by the San Francisco Giants in 2009. He played mostly catcher in the minors for his first 3 years while logging 56 games at 1B. There is one glaring concern with this prospect; he has suffered multiple injuries during his career. In 2010, he suffered his first concussion, and after being traded to the Phillies, he missed a lot of time due to a concussion in 2013. He had to get season-ending wrist surgery after a play at the plate in 2014. And then missed time due to another concussion in 2015 which is when the Phillies finally converted him to strictly 1B.
This year he has played for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the International League and boy has he been on fire, batting .347 with 6 homeruns and 17 RBIs. There is no question Joseph should be the first guy called up. Not only will he likely be more productive than the Howard/Ruf platoon, but he will add youth to this infield that already features Franco at 3rd. The Phillies may be 20-15 but that is predominately because of pitching which has been outstanding. I predict Joseph will have the starting 1B position by July if he can stay healthy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joseph continue this hot streak. But if he doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. The Phillies have many more bats to look forward to. The Prospects Are Coming.