Is Caleb Joseph the anointed starting catcher for the Baltimore Orioles in 2017 and beyond? First off, to answer that question we’re assuming that Matt Wieters has no future in Baltimore. My personal opinion is that he won’t be back, which yes creates a vacancy behind the dish. But that’s not something that we obviously know for sure as of yet.
I suspect that the market for Wieters will start being set at next month’s fast-approaching Winter Meetings. But back to Joseph – are the Orioles prepared to go with him as their starting catcher assuming that Wieters walks? That would be the conventional wisdom I suppose, because he’s been more than a reliable backup to Wieters to this point. In 2015 he started for much of the first half of the season while Wieters was still injured…
…and the results were fairly good. While he only hit .234, he played a big role when he needed to do so. Last season of course he only hit at a .174 clip and couldn’t even deliver an RBI. However the fact is that you aren’t going to expect too much out of your catcher at the plate. If he can get a base hit here and there, maybe a home run, and perhaps move guys over on the base paths, you’re going to be happy.
Joseph does have a prowess behind the plate, and while he’s not Wieters he would probably have been starting last year on quite a few teams. However the question is whether or not he’s the heir-apparent if Wieters walks. Again, I say yes.
And not just for the fact that he is in fact a solid catcher. But who else is out there for the Orioles? The Birds have expressed interest in bringing back former catcher Nick Hundley, and there are several other decent catchers on the market this year as well. However the question is whether or not any of them are comparable with Joseph. And my personal opinion is that they are not.
To me it would serve no purpose to bring someone else in only to keep Joseph as a backup. He’s well liked in the clubhouse, and even if he doesn’t always get on base he does contribute. However we also know that often times teams will make guys compete for the starting job, and that might be where the Orioles go with Joseph. But at the end of the day, I think he starts behind the plate on Opening Day.