Judging by the comments about catcher Caleb Joseph on last week's entry, a lot of Orioles fans would be happy to have him as the backup to Matt Wieters for several years.
That idea also sounds good to me, but there are several things working against him at this point.
First, he hasn't played above the short-season Single-A level so far in his career. Joseph will gain a little bit more publicity if he puts up similar or better numbers in a full-season league in 2009. Also, the 22-year-old catcher could be traded if he continues to advance through the Orioles' minor league system and gains the attention of other organizations. Finally, as several readers mentioned, Joseph could be moved to first base or another position.
Overall, the 2009 season should show fans what to expect from Joseph in the future.
In the comments section on the entry about Joseph, the reader Chris S asked if the next "Predict the future" could be about infielder Ryan Adams. As I told Chris in the return e-mail, Adams was literally the next person on my list. So, let's talk about him today.
Adams, who will turn 22 in April, played in 119 games for the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds in 2008.
Offensively, Adams emerged as a legitimate prospect while playing for the Shorebirds. He hit .308 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs. Adams also had 26 doubles, five triples, 68 runs and 12 stolen bases for Delmarva. The biggest offensive drawback for Adams is that he struck out 109 times.
While the strikeouts could become a problem as he advances through the organization, Adams' biggest weakness was his defense. The 6-foot, 195-pound infielder committed 52 errors last season, including a South Atlantic League record for defensive miscues by a second baseman (46). He also made five errors in seven games at shortstop and one at third base.
Adams batted .236 with three home runs and 22 RBIs in 67 games for the Aberdeen IronBirds in 2007. He had 10 doubles, eight stolen bases and 29 runs. Adams, who was the Orioles' second-round pick in the 2006 MLB draft, committed 20 errors for the IronBirds.
While splitting the 2006 season between the IronBirds and rookie-level Bluefield Orioles, Adams hit .263 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 40 games. He made nine defensive miscues.
Obviously, Adams needs to get better with his defense in 2009. The good news is that there's plenty of room for improvement. Since he's shown the ability to shine offensively, it would be better for Adams to focus on his defense this season.
With that said, I think Adams' offensive numbers might dip a little bit during the upcoming season. He will likely commit fewer errors, which is a good exchange that could ultimately help the organization more than the impact of his offensive statistics.
During the 2009 season, Adams will probably play for the Single-A Frederick Keys. Look for him to hit around .290 with about 10 stolen bases and 65 runs scored. Adams will probably have 20-25 doubles and 45-50 RBIs.
What are your expectations for Adams in 2009? I'm sure a lot of people would like to see him cut down on the errors, but do you think it will affect his offense?
Check out previous installments of "Predict the future" by clicking on the links below: