In 2012, Tommy Joseph was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. At that time, the team was just starting to tumble down the standings due to a rebuilding period that had just started.
Since that time, the seasons have been a challenge for both the franchise and Joseph, but it appears now signs show both are making good progress.
Last May, Joseph debuted in the majors at the age of 24 and completed a solid season as a rookie. He ended the season with 21 home runs and now that Ryan Howard’s bat is not in the Phillies lineup, Joseph could become the future at first base for the Phillies.
This week Joseph said that he had been very gratified with having a debut season where he was healthy and played well.
He and his fellow Phillies teammates had their first full team workout on Friday to start the spring training.
Remaining healthy has been difficult for Joseph since being drafted. He was a top prospect in the San Francisco Giants system prior to being traded to the Phillies in a deal that included Hunter Pence going to the Giants.
Joseph at the time of his trade was a catcher, with solid power during his days in Class A. However his career became close to be ended because of concussions.
Between 2013 and 2015, Joseph played just 121 games, but finally last year he impressed at the start of the season in Triple-A that earned him his promotion. After one month in the majors, he supplanted Howard who was struggling.
Howard’s stats improved following the All-Star breaks as he was able to hit 25 home runs by the end of the season. That gave Philadelphia a pair of options of power at first.
However, the Phillies opted to let Howard become a free agent and he has yet to sign with any club.
The Phillies leaders are now Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco and Joseph could join the group if he can handle more time playing on a regular basis.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Joseph needed to learn the strike zone better so he does not give away so many at bats.
Last season Joseph struck out 75 times and walked just 22, which means his eye at the plate in pitch selection is still an issue.
Matt Stairs the hitting coach for the Phillies said that young players upon their arrival in the big leagues need time to determine the type of hitter they are and where their strengths lie.