Joseph Getting Acclimated To The Long Season

Giants' catcher shows durability in his second full season





SAN FRANCISCO—Catcher Tommy Joseph was wiped out toward the end of last year, when he completed his first full professional season at low Class A Augusta. That was to be expected for a teenager in the sweltering Sally League.

Not only is Joseph handling the workload better at high Class A San Jose this season, but he's also surging to the finish and leading the Giants to the California League playoffs.

Joseph, 20, is the youngest player on the roster and led the team in home runs (20) and RBIs (87). He didn't compile those numbers in the freshness of April and May, though. Joseph rebounded from a rough start, and he had hit 14 of his 20 homers and 21 of his 32 doubles after the all-star break. He was hitting .326 in 22 games in August.

"He's got one of our best swings in the minor leagues," farm director Fred Stanley said. "He's calm up there. He's got really good power to all fields. He bears down with runners in scoring position more than if he's leading off an inning. He's showing that he's a really durable kid."

Joseph had made 86 of his 109 starts behind the plate. He showed coaches he could handle both finesse pitchers and power arms such as righty Heath Hembree.

From the day the Giants drafted Joseph in 2009 as a second-rounder out of Horizon High in Scottsdale, Ariz., there was a thought he would wind up at first base. It's hard to say whether Buster Posey's season-ending ankle injury might change the organization's outlook going forward.

The Giants have other intriguing catch-and-throw guys in the minors, including Dan Burkhart, Joe Staley and Eric Sim. They just signed another high-profile catcher, second-rounder Andrew Susac.

"There are certain areas our scouting department honed in on and catching is a big one," Stanley said. "It sure is nice to have catcher in your midst with 100-RBI potential. If he continues his progress, my goodness, that's what Tommy Joseph could be."

GIANTICS

• Outfielder Gary Brown broke San Jose's single-season hits record, which was previously held by Mark Leonard (176 hits in 1988).

• To clear 40-man roster space for lefthander Eric Surkamp, the Giants designated lefthander Clayton Tanner for assignment. Tanner was 6-10, 4.29 for Double-A Richmond.