Tommy Joseph Promoted, Darin Ruf Sent Down, Probably

(The original headline of this story implied Darin Ruf had been demoted, because it seems likely and because I am an idiot who forgot to fix it before posting. Sorry, Darin.)

Tommy Joseph, the primary return in the Phillies 2012 trade of Hunter Pence to San Francisco, had his contract selected from Lehigh Valley and will join the club as they begin a nine-game home stand tonight against Cincinnati, according to Jayson Stark and a bunch of the Philly beats. Joseph ever making his MLB debut was far from anyone’s mind just three months ago, but his play in Spring Training and the AAA regular season has certainly warranted the call-up, and his long struggle against injury makes his impending debut, likely tonight against Brandon Finnegan, quite the feel-good story. Really, I feel good about it. Not like, I just got an N64 for Christmas, but pretty good.

tojoJoseph, pictured here in what has to be a photo sent from his first year managing Lehigh Valley in 2029, is just 24 years old this year. He has been off his game the past few days, going just 2 for his last 16, but he’s had quite a start to 2016 at the plate. He has seven doubles and six homers, to go with lackluster BB Rate of 4% and a good K Rate of 12% in 100 PAs. His .981 OPS ranks him at the top of the International League, and he’s hit his way to a crazy 196 wRC+.

Of course, when Joseph arrived in Phils organization, he was a catching prospect with an uncertain defensive skill set, but a plus power tool that he’d shown off with 22 HR as a 19-year-old in High-A the year before. Those 22 still tied him the sixth in the admittedly hitter-friendly Cal League, and he was one of only three even semi-regular contributors who played the league that year at age 19 (along with Jon Singleton and Chris Owings). His leadership skills were lauded as well, but upon arrival with the Phils, he suffered repeated concussions on foul tips behind the plate. Those head injuries eventually ended his catching days, and wrist surgery late in 2014 slowed him further. He took less than 600 PAs from 2013-2015. He was outrighted off the 40-Man Roster last fall but invited to big league camp this year and began to stake his claim for a possible call-up as a first baseman.

To make room for Joseph on the 25-man roster, 2012’s feel-good story Darin Ruf will likely be optioned to Lehigh Valley. Ruf gained traction towards a big league career in a successful 2011 at Clearwater and a trip that fall to the AFL. He cemented a call-up with a monster of a 2012, where he OPSed 6.902 or something at Reading. Joseph joined Ruf there in July that year after the Pence Trade, and Ruf even reportedly started his historic August hot streak after either borrowing a bat from Joseph or winning one from him in a friendly wager, and liking it so much he got a bunch of his own. Or as we looked at it when I was at – Darin Ruf was swinging Tommy Joseph’s Magic Bat. Hyperbolic, I suppose. A little.

Ruf has never really proven himself as an everyday player in the big leagues. He showed a reverse platoon split in 2013, OPSing .863 versus RHP in a decent sample of close to 200PAs. But that success versus righties did not hold up in subsequent years, and he hasn’t OPSed higher than .714 in a season since. His defense in the outfield has been described as “ugh, why?” and “faaaaaaart” on Twitter and the blogosphere, and “insufficient” and “aww dude, him?” in old media. His glove at first is not much of an improvement over even Ryan Howard (DRS says it’s not any better, though Ruf’s 2015 was a fairly small sample compared to Howard), and his bat this year has been about as bad as is possible without getting shipped out, compiling a wOBA of .182 (yikes) and a wRC+ of 4 (yes, that’s just 4, I didn’t mistype a 64 or even a 44. It’s freaking 4). It seems like he should be out of options by now, but the club didn’t have to use one in 2015 because he spent less than the required 20 days in the minors, so he can head to Lehigh Valley and try to play himself back into contention for a big league role.

When I thought the club needed a roster spot for Joseph, I wrote this, and it would be a shame if it wasn’t used, even though it’s false now because Cedric Hunter was outrighted off the 40-man: Pitcher Charlie Morton, whose obliterated hamstring, in the context of the DH debate, is apparently no rhetorical match for a jolly obese man hopped up on stem cells hitting a home run, was sent to the 60-day DL to make room for Joseph on the 40-man roster.

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  1. glovesdroppa

    May 13, 2016 02:13 PM

    I was about to drive him to the airport myself after that dumpster fire of an at bat last night. I was all for Ruf getting a shot in the majors, but at this point if he can’t hit lefties (the only reason he’s even on the club) then you’re of no use.

  2. Scuffy McGee

    May 13, 2016 02:23 PM

    Um…proofreading. C’mon guys. This site is better than this article.

    • bubba0101

      May 13, 2016 04:43 PM

      Get off your high horse. It was a good article on a freaking blog. It was funny and reported all the necessary facts for what amounts to an insignificant piece of news.

      • Brad Engler

        May 13, 2016 05:11 PM

        Thanks Bubba0101. Or can I call you just “Bubba”, or “Bub”?

      • Bubba0101

        May 14, 2016 07:20 AM

        Whatever you want just don’t call me late for dinner…

      • Brad Engler

        May 17, 2016 10:53 PM

        I’m the same way re: dinner.

    • Brad Engler

      May 13, 2016 05:06 PM

      I will admit that I found one editing miss on my part – I didn’t use an apostrophe on “Phils” at one point even though implying ownership. What other errors did you find that weren’t intended as jokes, I wonder? I will gladly fix them.

      • Brad Engler

        May 13, 2016 05:10 PM

        You know what, I’m not even changing that. Someone give me a ruling – “Phils Organization” – do I use a possessive apostrophe? I kind of think not. I’m just overthinking it.

      • Romus

        May 13, 2016 06:19 PM

        Relax BE…it was a good humorous and informative article that needs no reworking.

      • The Unphortunate

        May 14, 2016 11:01 AM

        I wouldn’t. For instance, there’s no apostrophe in the Ford Motor Company. Phils Organization operates as a proper noun, unless you want to talk about something they exercise or own. “The Phils’ organization is out of the park! Look how neatly they have those bats and balls lined up there!” or “Take the Phils’ organization. No, seriously, take it.”

      • Tim

        May 14, 2016 12:11 PM

        I’d say no apostrophe since you probably wouldn’t go with a possessive on any of the non-plural team names. You wouldn’t say “the Magic’s organization” you’d say “the Magic organization.” Then you’d make a sweet pun along the lines of their being nothing magical about the Magic organization.

      • Tim

        May 14, 2016 12:13 PM

        And in my defense, I’m pretty sure my ironic there/their error in a post about grammar is due to autocorrect on my phone. That’s what I going with at least.

      • Bubba0101

        May 14, 2016 09:30 PM

        I’m. Cmon Tim. This is a highly criticized blog. Get your grammar straight. Have some respect for the people who have to read these comments and suffer through an entire article full of improper apostrophe usage and other phantom proof reading errors.

  3. chris

    May 13, 2016 02:27 PM

    Been saying this for years about Ruf. Always negative reactions towards me.

    So how about it folks….. lets give me some love already!

    • Romus

      May 13, 2016 02:48 PM

      Luv you Christine..:)

  4. greg

    May 13, 2016 02:53 PM

    Seriously, did all those concussions also age him 20 years? Is this Tommy Joseph from the future, finally cleared of all concussion symptoms as at 42, coming back from the future to resume his baseball career?

  5. Munchma Quchi

    May 13, 2016 02:55 PM

    joseph hasn’t been hot in his last few games. 2 for his last 16. hope he breaks out.

  6. Major Malfunction

    May 13, 2016 03:33 PM

    I thought that was a picture of a younger Ryan Sandberg.

  7. john Mcguoirk

    May 13, 2016 05:10 PM

    But are the phillies full on 40 man roster or still at 39?

    • Brad Engler

      May 13, 2016 05:24 PM

      I think they are at 40 now with Joseph. Hunter is off, Stumpf is off, Morton remains on the 15-day DL. Could be wrong.

      • Steve

        May 15, 2016 09:01 AM

        What is the advantage of not moving Morton to the 60 day? I thought it was a done deal that he was out for the season, unless i missed an update.

      • Corinne Landrey

        May 15, 2016 09:58 AM

        A player can’t be moved to the 60-day DL unless the 40-man roster is full. They’ll move Morton when the roster spot is needed.

      • Bubba0101

        May 15, 2016 08:22 PM

        … Corrine says as she drops the mic and walks away slowly…

  8. Bary Onyx

    May 18, 2016 08:40 AM

    “Joseph, pictured here in what has to be a photo sent from his first year managing Lehigh Valley in 2029,”

    He he. Awesome. I thought the same thing, he looks like 40 in that picture.

    I’m really liking this young Phillies team but they still don’t seem to have, anywhere in the system, a “Chase Utley” type that my wife can root for.

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