We all know the story; Baltimore Orioles backup catcher, Caleb Joseph, hasn’t delivered a RBI in a very long time.
As a matter of fact, for the Baltimore Orioles backup catcher, it’s been exactly 593 days.
Caleb had two that evening as the Orioles went on to defeat the Royals, 14-to-8.
I wrote about this game yesterday. But you read that already.
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Officially scored as a 5-4, Fielders Choice, Joseph drove in his 49th run of the season. Joseph may have celebrated more if only he knew how long it would be before he drove in another.
Decreased playing time has contributed to Joseph’s lack of RBIs.
In 2015, CaJo had caught 93 games and played in 100 for the O’s, as Matt Wieters did not enter game action until June.
Joseph finished that year with a .234/.299/.394 line with 11 home runs, and as mentioned above, 49 RBIs.
The following season, Wieters was ready to begin catching back-to-back days again, which kept Caleb on the bench for the majority of the season.
Joseph caught 40 games and appeared in 49 total.
In 141 plate appearances, Joseph’s slash line read .174/.216/.197 to finish the season. He didn’t hit any home runs, racked up 23 total hits, three for doubles, and walked just seven times.
Joseph also was injured on May 30 against the Boston Red Sox. He missed 32 games due to a testicular injury.
We’ll stick with that.
Joseph hit from the ninth spot 29 times in 2016, which was the most of any spot in the lineup for him. For a RBI opportunity, Joseph needed to rely on guys hitting in the six, seven, and eight spots ahead of him to be in scoring position.
Through 29 chances with RISP, Joseph went just 2-for-27, with one walk and six strikeouts.
Just a few missed opportunities there.
Can the RBI statistic determine a players value?
The RBI stat is only as good as the players hitting in front of you, and nothing more. A hitter’s RBI total is increased because of the players ahead of him.
Mark Trumbo didn’t drive in 108 runs last season by hitting 108 home runs.
At the same time, a player failing to drive in any runs is very painful to watch. However, justification of total value isn’t determined by lack of RBIs.
In Caleb’s particular case, a backup catcher that drove in 49 runs in 2015 also caught 33% of would-be base stealers (18-of-55) that year.
Additionally, sometimes catchers just work well with certain pitchers.
Take, for example, the Wade Miley-Joseph tandem this season.
When Miley pitches and Joseph catches, Miley’s ERA is 2.08. He has 32 strikeouts to 14 walks and has limited opposing hitters to a .138 batting average.
When asked about how Caleb feels about catching Miley, Caleb said, “Two good-looking guys. You really can’t go wrong with that.”
It’s difficult watching Caleb Joseph struggle over the past 159 plate appearances. He’s going to come around though, and sooner or later he’s going to drive in another run.
Hopefully, we get to see this while he’s wearing black and orange, and not after a possible trade to another team when it comes back to bite the Orioles.