Concussions May Force Tommy Joseph to Change Positions


July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; USA catcher Tommy Joseph hits a two-run double during the fourth inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Persistent injuries might alter the potential career path for one of the Philadelphia Phillies’ future pieces, as lingering concussion affects may force Tommy Joseph into a position change. The catching prospect was widely viewed as a big piece of Philadelphia’s plans behind the plate beyond the end of the 2013 season, potentially even developing into the organization’s “catcher of the future”, but those plans will seemingly need to change for Joseph’s own health.

Matt Gelb at The Philadelphia Inquirer first suggested that a change might be necessary. Joseph has been experiencing some lingering effects stemming from a concussion that he received in mid-May. It was the third such concussion-related incident in Joseph’s young career and the organization has elected to shut Joseph down for the remainder of the season to allow him more time to recover. He’d struggle to hit just .179/.229/.285 in 131 PA on the year across four levels.

Coming off a strong performance during Spring Training as he entered his first full season with the organization (Joseph came to Philadelphia as part of the team’s return when they dealt Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants before the 2012 Trade Deadline), many believed that a solid season in the minor leagues (presumably mostly spent at Triple-A) could place Joseph in line to step into the competition for the starting role beginning with the 2014 season. The team’s incumbent starter, Carlos Ruiz, will reach free agency following the season and it remains to be seen if the team will make a serious effort to re-sign him or if they’d prefer to go in another direction. With Joseph ready to take over the decision could have been much easier for the Phillies but that no longer remains the case.

Joseph has seen some limited time at first base in his minor league career, suggesting that could be an option for him with a position change even though he doesn’t necessarily profile offensively as a first baseman. It’s tough to predict where else he might be able to play defensively. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Phillies try him out in one of the corner outfield positions as well, just for depth purposes.