09 May 2014

Caleb Joeph Is 28.

Last Wednesday, Caleb Joseph started at catcher for the Orioles at the age of 27 (though his June birthday has him in the age 28 class cohort which means more than half the season this year he will be 28).  He had been left open for a few years in the Rule 5 draft, but no other team in baseball considered him as having a good shot to make their club and stay on the roster all year long.  That left him back in the Orioles organization where he moved up to Norfolk for his age 28 year, which is pretty old to be making a firm move up to AAA.  With Matt Wieters' misfortune, Joesph found his opportunity.

In doing so, Joseph managed to do something that only 10 Oriole position players had done before him: debut at age 28 or older.  Below is the full list:

Rk
Year Age G PA BA OBP SLG
1 Alejandro Freire 2005 30 25 72 .246 .319 .338
2 P.J. Forbes 1998 30 9 10 .100 .100 .100
3 Chico Garcia 1954 29 39 71 .113 .211 .177
4 Carlos Mendez 2003 29 26 46 .222 .217 .267
5 Chico Fernandez 1968 29 24 19 .111 .158 .111
6 Carl Powis 1957 29 15 52 .195 .314 .317
7 Howie Clark 2002 28 14 58 .302 .362 .396
8 Napoleon Calzado 2005 28 4 5 .200 .200 .200
9 Mike Moriarty 2002 28 8 16 .188 .188 .250
10 Ricky Jones 1986 28 16 39 .182 .308 .242
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/7/2014.

That is not exactly the greatest list one would wish to be on.  Of those players, well, none of them wound up doing anything much of importance.  The most renowned among them would be Howie Clark because he was the recipient of an Alex Rodriguez shout out while Clark was camped out under a fly ball at third base.

Though, maybe the list above is unfair.  Catchers sometimes need a lot of time to hone their craft and be capable at a MLB level.  Let us look at catcher debuts over the past 20 years for players in their age 28 seasons and above.

Year Age Tm G PA BA OBP SLG
Chris Coste 2006 33 PHI 65 213 .328 .376 .505
Clemente Alvarez 2000 32 PHI 2 5 .200 .200 .200
Darron Cox 1999 31 MON 15 27 .240 .296 .400
Cody Clark 2013 31 HOU 16 40 .105 .128 .132
Frank Charles 2000 31 HOU 4 7 .429 .429 .571
Tom Wilson 2001 30 OAK 9 24 .190 .250 .476
Max St. Pierre 2010 30 DET 6 9 .222 .222 .333
Erik Kratz 2010 30 PIT 9 36 .118 .167 .118
Ken Huckaby 2001 30 ARI 1 1 .000 .000 .000
Chris Heintz 2005 30 MIN 8 26 .200 .231 .320
Brandon Harper 2006 30 WSN 18 47 .293 .362 .512
J.C. Boscan 2010 30 ATL 1 1 1.000
B.J. Waszgis 2000 29 TEX 24 51 .222 .294 .244
Mark Strittmatter 1998 29 COL 4 4 .000 .000 .000
Mandy Romero 1997 29 SDP 21 50 .208 .240 .333
Guillermo Rodriguez 2007 29 SFG 39 98 .253 .327 .356
Chris Robinson 2013 29 SDP 8 12 .167 .167 .417
Blake Lalli 2012 29 CHC 6 16 .133 .188 .133
Tuffy Gosewisch 2013 29 ARI 14 47 .178 .174 .222
Joe Depastino 2003 29 NYM 2 2 .000 .000 .000
Jamie Burke 2001 29 ANA 9 5 .200 .200 .200
Jorge Brito 1995 29 COL 18 55 .216 .259 .275
Dusty Wathan 2002 28 KCR 3 6 .600 .667 .800
Matt Tupman 2008 28 KCR 1 1 1.000 1.000 1.000








Matt Treanor 2004 28 FLA 29 61 .236 .311 .273
Kevin Richardson 2009 28 TEX 4 6 .500 .500 .500
Hector Ortiz 1998 28 KCR 4 4 .000 .000 .000
Miguel Ojeda 2003 28 SDP 61 163 .234 .331 .362
Cody McKay 2002 28 OAK 2 4 .667 .500 .667
Steve Holm 2008 28 SFG 49 98 .262 .357 .405
Brian Esposito 2007 28 STL 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/7/2014.

Thirty-one players make the list.  Of those players, Matt Treanor (468 games), Chris Coste (299 games), Tom Wilson (214 games), Miguel Ojeda (212 games), Jamie Burke (191 games), Ken Huckaby (161 games), and Erik Kratz (138 games) saw significant time in the Majors.  That is about one fifth of the names listed and those seven all had better defensive assessments than Joseph.

In other words, all hope is not lost.  Based on historical evidence, we should not expect Joseph to be a starting caliber catcher, but he does stand a 20% chance or so for being a guy who might see one or two seasons as a backup for someone else.  Or maybe, just maybe, he changes the script.

3 comments:

Michael Wallace said...

Doesn't Joseph hit better against lefties? I was guessing maybe they platoon Clevenger against righties and Joseph against lefties.

Andy said...

In regards to Joseph making his debut this late, I think you're leaving out an important example: Melvin Mora. While he didn't debut here, he played half of his first full year here at the age of 28, and went on to have an extremely successful career. I wouldn't say Joseph is on the same path, but leaving out possibly one of the best players to ever start that late who also played for the Orioles seems like an oversight.

Jon Shepherd said...

I would say the first list is interesting as one related to the Orioles. However, the latter is more applicable to Joseph's situation. Mora's unique career path does not seem related.