Who’s on first?
Comedian, Lou Costello may have coined this phrase, but since 2012 the Phillies have asked themselves the same question. A revolving door of inconsistency at first has ranged from Ryan Howard, to Ty Wigginton, to Darin Ruf, and even Jim Thome.
The organization may have finally found “who” after several years.
Tommy Joseph; it’s his time.
With each passing day, Joseph keeps commanding more playing time for his rapidly developed game. The key piece to the Hunter Pence deal, possesses a textbook swing. Short enough to turn on an inside pitch but also quick enough to nab an outside pitch and drive it to right with power.
Howard’s age has caught up to him. The 36-year-old struggles with turning on the inside fastball. It does not help that his plate discipline has grown as thin as his batting average. Let’s not take anything away from the ‘The Big Piece’, because for years he anchored the line-up and struck immense fear into opposing pitchers hearts.
It is just not his time anymore. Its Joseph’s.
In 25 games this season the six-foot-one 215-pounder has batted .272 with seven home runs, 10 runs scored and is slugging .556. In the first 12 games of June, he has hit at a .273 clip, with four home runs and seven RBIs.
On the other hand, Howard has hit .149 with 10 homers and 21 RBIs in 54 games. Since the beginning of the month Howard has hit .111, granted that is in a bench role.
Not only are Joseph’s stats better but his at bats in general trump Howard by leaps and bounds. Joseph has a certain pitch that he looks for in at bats and waits for it to be thrown.
That fact was evident in game one of the last series against the Washington Nationals. Both the balls he drove out of the park were in the same spot and in each at bat he had a favorable count. The first home run count was 1-1 and the second he was up 2-0, showing that he was waiting for a particular pitch.
Is Joseph the perfect first baseman?
Should he be the guy right now?
It’s possible that the 24-year-old is a flash in the pan, but, from the looks of it, Joseph has the tools to succeed. Manager, Pete Mackanin has done a great work for Joseph’s confidence by granting him a starting job. Days off once in a while are expected but for the most part 2016 is the year to prove his worth.
Maybe soon the Phillies won’t have to ask who’s on first?
What’s on second, I don’t know…..third base.