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Phillies trade talk: Just how good is Tommy Joseph?

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Depending on the stats you look at, Tommy Joseph is a very different player.

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MLB: San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

If you write about baseball, you use statistics to help you tell your story.

The numbers help paint that narrative, and they always have. Sure, some of those numbers have changed over the years. Traditional counting stats have merged with sabermetrics, and our ability to use splits and game logs have allowed us to set arbitrary start and end points on players to tell us whether they are hot and improving or cold and regressing.

But perhaps more than most players, Tommy Joseph is an exercise in how different statistics looked at over different lengths of time can tell you very different things about his ability.

Some stats make Joseph look like an up-and-coming young power hitter. Others make him look like an average player, nothing special.

THE “GOOD” TO-JO STATS:

  • In his first 189 career games, Joseph has hit 36 home runs and has driven in 90 runs.
  • Over the last calendar year, Joseph’s 26 HRs rank 11th among 20 qualified MLB first basemen.
  • Joseph has seen his walk rate increase from 6.3% last year to 7.3% this year.
  • Since May 1, Joseph is batting .273/.339/.529 with a wOBA of .364 and a wRC+ of 125, with 14 HRs and 14 doubles.
  • Since May 1, Joseph’s walk rate is 8.4%.
  • In May, Joseph hit .306/.409/.694 with an OPS of 1.104 and a wRC+ of 178.
  • This month, Joseph is batting .294/.351/.647 with a wOBA of .409 and a wRC+ of 154 in 37 PAs.
  • Joseph is tied for 4th in MLB (with 6 other players) in home runs against left-handed pitchers (7).
  • Joseph really has no platoon splits, batting .259/.309/.435 against right-handers, with a wRC+ of 94 and an OPS of .744. Not fantastic, but holds his own.
  • In situations described as “late and close,” Joseph is batting .300/.364/.550 with a .914 OPS (2nd highest on the Phillies, trailing Maikel Franco).
  • Joseph’s 8 RBIs in “late and close” situations is tied for 12th-most in baseball.
  • In “high leverage situatons” (according to Fangraphs), Joseph is batting .273/.324/.515 with an .839 OPS and a 115 wRC+.
  • Joseph is tied for the team lead with 19 hits (Freddy Galvis) with runners in scoring position, slashing .275/.333/.435 (.768 OPS) in those situations.

THE “NOT-SO-GOOD” TO-JO STATS:

  • Among qualified MLB first basemen, Joseph’s fWAR of 0.0 ranks 26th out of 27 players.
  • Joseph’s wRC+ of 102 is 25th among first basemen.
  • His wOBA of .330 is 24th.
  • His .466 slugging percentage is tied for 19th.
  • Joseph’s 15 homers are 18th among qualified first basemen.
  • Joseph’s .313 OBP is tied for 25th among qualified first basemen.
  • In April, Joseph hit .179/.222/.254 with a .476 OPS.
  • In June, Joseph hit .243/.304/.427 with a .731 OPS.
  • Joseph leads all first basemen in double plays grounded into (15). He is third in MLB in GIDP, behind his teammate Franco and Matt Kemp.
  • Joseph has a career dWAR (Defensive Wins Above Replacement) of -2.1.

I’m sure there are many players that fall into grey areas like this, and anyone can have fun with small sample size numbers.

And when you factor in that Joseph has played just 189 career games and that he is still just 25 years old, under team control through 2023, there is reason to believe he could improve slightly and provide any team in need of a first baseman...

...clears throat... YANKEES...

... a cheap and productive option.

He’s not going to win any batting titles and his power may never reach the 35-40 homer range. But as a DH or first baseman for an American League team, Joseph could be a really good, and cheap, addition.

Just don’t look at that second batch of stats, mmkay?

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