While the Phillies are without their top catcher, their top catching prospect is scuffling along at his position at AAA Lehigh Valley. Tommy Joseph, a top hitting prospect acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the Hunter Pence deal, has had an alarming first week behind the plate. After six games caught, he has four passed balls. Ouch.
Nonetheless, Iron Pigs manager Mike Brundage praises Joseph's work ethic in Michael LoRe's piece on Lehigh Valley Live:
"He’s scuffling defensively," Brundage said. "He knows it and he’s working on it. Sometimes it’s a funny game. What I liked (Monday) is he came back and hit a three-run homer. He’s telling me he’s not taking it to the plate. It can go a long ways for you. Maybe it picks up his spirits a little bit. He’s trying to find himself back there behind the plate. He’s going to work on it and it’s not going to be for a lack of work ethic."
At least Joseph is contributing at the plate. After a passed ball on Monday night, Joseph responded with a three-run home run.
While some fans hoped Joseph would start the year in the major leagues while starting catcher Carlos Ruiz was suspended, this is likely the reason why. Some scouts projected Joseph as a first baseman before the Phillies acquired him, but the Phillies are hoping that he will catch.