It didn’t take long for second base prospect Josh Tobias to make an impact with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers following his promotion there earlier this week. On Thursday, in his second game in the Florida State League, the switch-hitting 23-year-old notched a 4-for-4 game while drawing a walk.
Tobias was part of a chain reaction series of promotions for second basemen that saw Taylor Featherston come to the big leagues, Jesmuel Valentin go to Triple-A and Scott Kingery join the Double-A ranks after Phillies utility man Andres Blanco was sidelined with an injury this week.
An All-Star for Class A Lakewood this season, Tobias, who was the Phillies’ 10th round draft choice last year, posted a .304 average with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 93 games in the South Atlantic League.
Prior to his promotion, I spoke to Josh about his All-Star experience, his progress this season, a certain BlueClaws promotion and plenty more. Read ahead for that interview.
-You were part of a trio (including Luke Leftwich and Jose Pujols) that represented the BlueClaws in the Sally League All-Star Game down in Lexington last month. What was that whole experience like for you?
It was a great experience. I mean, up in Kentucky, it was me, Leftwich and Pujols and we had a great time. We had a huge concert for us one day, so we went out and hung out there and they had a dinner for us that night as well. So, we had a blast. And the game was fun as well, with the home run derby and just hanging out with all the guys from all the different teams. So, it was a blast.
-You talked about hanging out with guys from other teams…is there any info sharing, getting advice on other pitchers from other players and things like that?
Not really. I mean, I’ve faced several of the guys that had already thrown in the All-Star Game, but mostly we were just having fun. We weren’t really talking about the game. We were just chillin’ in there. Some guys we asked how they threw when we got to up to bat and someone would say, “Yeah, I played against him. He throws this and that.” So, if I were to face him again, I’d have a better idea than I did then.
-What does it mean to you to be able to do that with a couple teammates? Does that make it more special?
It definitely made it more fun. Definitely easier to get around, not being by yourself, so you have a group to go with. Yeah, it was more memorable being with two teammates, so you can share the experience together.
-What was the reaction from teammates for your All-Star nod? What was the support like for you to go represent the BlueClaws?
Oh, they were excited for me. When they announced it, they were all clapping for me and told me “congrats”. They told me “go kill it and have fun”. They were excited for all of us. Pujols and Leftwich were excited for me and I was excited for them.
-Very cool. There’s ups and downs throughout a season. Do you feel like you’ve made progress and gotten to where you want to be this season?
I’m always still working on things. You can never not work on things during the season. But, I’m feeling good at the plate and in the field and I mean everybody goes through slumps and everybody goes through dry spells, but the best thing (about baseball) is you’ve got another game the next day. So, I’m just working on my game every day, no matter what I can do.
-Is there any feedback that you’ve gotten from the coaching staff lately that differs from what they were telling you early in the season?
They– sometimes they tell us not to– we take it a little easier now because we’re kind of deep into the season, so we’re not doing as much as we did in the first half, to where we’re killing ourselves out there. So, now we’re taking things easy and trying to keep things simple.
-You seem like one of the more fun guys on the team with the way you interact with teammates. If I were to ask the team about you, would they tell me the same thing?
Yeah, I like to have a good time. I take myself seriously, but not too seriously if that makes sense. But, I like to joke around, but in the game I get serious. I’ll be the guy to come make you smile if you have a bad at bat or something like that or if you have a bad play, I’ll come up there and make you laugh about it.
-A recent promotion the BlueClaws had, where the team wore jerseys with cat pictures and allowed fans to bring their feline friends to the game, got some national attention. There was a photo of you holding a cat all over the team’s social media channels. Was that promotion and that attention fun for you guys?
It was awesome. The cat jerseys were a little ridiculous, but I thought they were funny. I mean, I have a cat at home, so it’s cool. They asked me to hold the cat, so I did, but then it started spazzing out in my arms. I ended up dropping it. So, I dropped the cat and said, “Okay. I need to go sit down now. I’ve embarrassed myself enough today.”
-Cats always land on their feet though, so it’s all good, right?
I thought it was going to land on its head, but it did land on its feet.