Getting To Know Tommy Joseph: The Phillies’ New First Baseman Who Could Make An Impact

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Originally Drafted
2nd round selection in 2009 (Giants)

How Acquired
Part of trade sending Hunter Pence to SF

2016 Production
.368 (32-87), 6 HR, 17 RBI, 11 R, 0 SB
(Note: all stats are through Tuesday)

There obviously has been a lot of luck in his average (.361 BABIP), but he’s also shown improved plate discipline (10.9% strikeout rate).  He’s added seven doubles and there was never a question about his power, hitting as many as 22 HR in a season (2011).

He’s also shown an ability to hit both RHP and LHP this season:

  • RHP – .362/.403/.586
  • LHP – .379/.367/.793

Where He Fits
The Phillies first baseman have been among the worst in the league this season, with a league worst .174 average.  At least Ryan Howard has shown some power, whereas Darin Ruf has been a complete disaster (.190 with 0 HR).  Ruf is supposed to be the go to option against LHP, so it would make sense for Joseph to be slotted into that role (with the potential for him to ultimately overtake Howard as well, something the Phillies have not been shy about in recent years).

What Else We Need To Know
Injuries have helped slow down the ascent of the 24-year old, and also forced him to move from catcher to first base.  In fact he hasn’t had more than 199 AB over the past three seasons and only once has had more than 436 AB in a season.  That’s obviously a concern and his overall numbers are not all that impressive (.255 with 69 HR over 1,861 AB).  Still it’s hard to ignore the upside.  Just look at what John Sickels said about him prior to the 2012 season:

“I like the way he improved his defense, also has standout power, hit 22 homers in High-A at age 19/20. Strike zone judgment remains poor and precludes higher grade, but he projects as a regular catcher if he can improve his approach.”

Obviously the defensive statements are irrelevant at this point, but he has shown a better contact rate and, as we said, the power has always been there.  Now that he’s up there definitely is going to be an opportunity and he could quickly make an impact.

Fantasy Baseball Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Too Shallow
  • 12 Team League – Too shallow, but monitor
  • 14+ Team League – Worth stashing
  • NL-Only League – Worth owning
  • Dynasty League – Worth owning
  • Two-Catcher League – Must Own

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, MLB.com

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