Phillies Believe Tommy Joseph Has Priorities In Order





PHILADELPHIA—As a former catcher, Double-A Reading manager Dusty Wathan watches those who play the position with an educated eye. He picks up nuances that make a catcher valuable, such as the way Tommy Joseph receives the ball.

"He's very strong-handed for a young guy," Wathan said. "The ball doesn't move a whole lot when it hits his glove. A lot of times that's a thing that comes with maturity (and experience)."

The ease with which Joseph catches and frames pitches was just one skill that impressed Wathan while watching Joseph in 2012. The 21-year-old Joseph spent most of the season with the Giants' Double-A Richmond club before joining Reading in the July trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco.

Wathan, who also managed Joseph in the Arizona Fall League, was impressed with his young charge at every stop.

"He's very mature and works hard," Wathan said. "Those are very good assets to have as a catcher. He's a leader, and his presence carries over to his teammates."

Joseph, a second-rounder out of high school in 2009, has quickly established himself as the Phillies' catcher of the future, surpassing Sebastian Valle. Team officials will get a look at Joseph in spring training, and he could be ticketed for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Joseph threw out 31 of 52 basestealers (40 percent) at Double-A, while hitting .257/.317./.399 with 11 homers in 404 at-bats. Wathan believes the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Joseph has more in his bat.

"He's very strong and has a lot of power potential," he said. "I think 2013 will be a big year for him offensively.

"He came over here and I think he concentrated so much on his defense and wanted to show everybody that he could catch that I think he put offense on the back burner.

"He's one of those guys who's happy if we win a ballgame (even if) he doesn't get any hits, as long as he called a good game, which is a very important asset in a catcher, especially a young catcher."

PHIL-UPS

• The Phillies hired Nelson Prada, 36, to manage short-season Williamsport. Prada, who managed eight seasons in the Twins system, replaces Andy Tracy, who became the organization's minor league hitting coordinator.

Les Lancaster will serve as pitching coach for Williamsport, replacing Aaron Fultz, who moves to low Class A Lakewood.