Tommy Joseph Having Historically Underrated Season for Phillies

Sep 11, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph (19) hits a solo homer against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph (19) hits a solo homer against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tommy Joseph is taking Major League Baseball by storm, but no one knows it yet

If you analyzed every trade Ruben Amaro Jr ever made, a couple months ago you’d automatically say the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants. The Phillies received highly touted catching prospect Tommy Joseph, pitcher Seth Rosin, and career back-up outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

Seth Rosin is out of Major League Baseball after just two seasons, and Schierholtz is currently suspended for PEDs.

Tommy Joseph was the prize in this trade, and was quickly dubbed the catcher of the near future. At the time of the trade in 2012, Joseph was the sixth best prospect in the Giants farm system.

Joseph was also the seventh ranked catching prospect at the time. He was one spot behind Jorge Alfaro, and one ahead of former Phillies prospect Sebastian Valle.

Fast-forward to Spring Training of this season and look at Tommy Joseph. He’s a banged-up catcher who has dealt with career-threatening concussions. The Phillies removed him from their 40-man roster, making him vulnerable to the Rule 5 Draft for anyone to take.

Transitioning to first base in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Tommy Joseph quickly caught the attention of both the Phillies fans and management. In 27 games he hit .347 with six home runs as a reclamation project who many saw as a lost prospect.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Ryan Howard’s struggles mounted even higher. A shell of an MVP, Howard hit .203 with 25 strikeouts in 23 games in the month of April.

Darin Ruf hadn’t done much either, hitting .206 with zero home runs and just two doubles.

The struggles of Howard and Ruf left the Phillies with no real choice but to bring Tommy Joseph up to Philadelphia.

In Tommy Joseph’s 96 career games in Philadelphia he’s hit .256 with 20 home runs as a platoon player.

Only five other Phillies have hit 20 or more home runs as a rookie: Ryan Howard, Scott Rolen, Willie Montanez, Larry Hisle, and Dick Allen.

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Among those names you have three Rookies of the Year, two MVPs, and 20 All-Star appearances. Names such as Ryan Howard, Scott Rolen, and Dick Allen are not the kind you shrug off.

Among all rookies in 2016, Tommy Joseph has the third most home runs. Only Trevor Story and Corey Seager have more.

Oh, did I mention Tommy Joseph didn’t start the season in the big leagues and has been a platoon player? Corey Seager has his 25 home runs in 146 games and 582 at bats.

Tommy Joseph has 20 home runs in 96 games and just 293 at bats.

Imagine if Tommy Joseph was the starting first baseman on Opening Day in Cincinnati. While it’s tough to project numbers based on what a player has done in a limited amount of time, the numbers are staggering.

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Corey Seager has had practically double the number of at bats Joseph has had. If we were to project Tommy Joseph over a full season, he’d be on-track to break Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 home runs.

While Tommy Joseph won’t receive any first place votes for Rookie of the Year, he’s shown he has much more potential than we projected back in February. No matter what happens this offseason, Tommy Joseph has to be the starting first baseman for the Phillies on Opening Day, 2017 and be considered a powerful cog in a future Phillies World Championship.

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