From his fondness for air drumming to his impersonating Orioles coaches to his “Kid’s gotta eat!” catch phrase, Caleb Joseph is a personal favorite Oriole ever since his debut in 2014. It is a bummer to see that the Orioles optioned him to Norfolk on Thursday afternoon.
This is a bit of a surprise since Joseph has been a constant presence for several seasons now. However, it’s not much of a surprise if you look at what he’s actually doing so far this season. Joseph is batting .182/.203/.325 through 24 games, and he’s only thrown out 21% of base-stealers this season after throwing out just 18% across last season.
Things seemed so fun on Opening Day when Joseph surprisingly tripled and delivered two crucial runs that helped the O’s to a win on that day. That may have been his season highlight with the way he’s gone on to hit since then.
At a certain point, no matter how great a guy seems to be in interviews and how great he is in the clubhouse, there has to be some production to stick around. Joseph seems to have reached that point where the O’s had to make a tough decision about him, especially with catcher Andrew Susac, who the O’s acquired from the Brewers back in February, on fire down in Norfolk.
Susac has played in 16 games for the Tides and he is batting .296/.424/.537 and has thrown out 33% of base-stealers so far. That is, of course, a small sample size. Susac is not going to come up to the Orioles and be as good as that. No one should expect this. But he’s earned a chance to see if he can do better than Joseph right now and the O’s are giving him that chance.
We’ll see how long it lasts and how much the O’s plan on playing Susac with young catcher Chance Sisco around. At least for Thursday night, the O’s have thrown him right into the starting lineup, with Susac batting ninth and set to handle the catching duties with Kevin Gausman on the mound.