Caleb Martin Joseph
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 180 lb.
- School Lipscomb University
- High School Franklin High School
- Debut May 7, 2014
Catcher Caleb Joseph began playing in the Baltimore Orioles farm system in 2008 and made his major league debut with the Birds in 2014. He was drafted by the club in the 7th round of the 2008 amateur draft, a few slots ahead of Pedro Villarreal and Jordan Danks.
With the Aberdeen IronBirds in 2008, Joseph hit .261/.303/.441 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI in 63 games. He was a Carolina League All-Star in 2009 after hitting .284/.337/.450 with 12 home runs and 60 RBI in 104 games for the Frederick Keys. In 2010, Joseph hit .235/.301/.368 with 11 home runs and 51 RBI in 106 games for the Bowie Baysox and the next year, also with Bowie, he hit .257/.334/.358 with 7 home runs and 40 RBI in 107 games. He split 2012 between Bowie and the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, hitting a combined .259/.332/.435 with 12 home runs and 55 RBI in 102 games (he hit .206/.289/.294 with no home runs and 7 RBI in 22 Triple-A games). With Bowie for all of 2013, Joseph hit .299/.346/.494 with 22 home runs, 31 doubles and 97 RBI in 135 games.
Caleb was called up to Baltimore in May of 2014 as the Orioles were concerned over the health of starting catcher Matt Wieters. Indeed, Wieters was soon lost for the season because of Tommy John surgery, giving Caleb an opportunity to play a lot, sharing time with veteran Nick Hundley. While he did not hit much at first, he had an unexpected power outburst in early August when he homered in four consecutive games. The fourth was a game-winner in a 2-1 defeat of the Toronto Blue Jays on August 7th, against J.A. Happ. After a couple of days off, Caleb made it five straight games with a homer when he connected against John Lackey of the St. Louis Cardinals in a 10-3 win on August 9th. He was the 15th catcher with such a stretch, and the first in Baltimore history.
In 2016, Caleb set a record with 141 plate appearances without a single RBI. He had 3 doubles among his 23 hits, batted .174 and scored 7 runs, but did not drive anyone in. The previous modern record for most plate appearances without a RBI in one season was 124, by pitcher Wilbur Wood of the 1971 Chicago White Sox. He bounced back nicely in 2017 however, as he hit .256 with 8 homers and 28 RBIs in 89 games as he shared catching duties with Welington Castillo; his OPS+ was 87, after falling all the way to 13 the previous year. In 2018, with the Orioles having a historically bad season, he played another 82 games, but his production fell to .219 with 3 homers and 17 RBIs, and his OPS+ to 58. That year, he was the Orioles' main catcher, with Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns his main back-ups.
He became a free agent following the 2018 season and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2019, hitting .211 in 20 games and also making the first two pitching appearances of his career, as pitching occasional mop-up relief had seemingly become part of the job description of every back-up catcher in the majors. He missed some time with an injury, and also played 48 games in AAA with the Reno Aces where he hit .265 and slugged .481, showing there was still some pop in his bat. In 2020, he joined the Toronto Blue Jays with the plan being to park him in AAA as an injury policy in case something went wrong with the young catching tandem of Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire. With the Coronavirus pandemic shutting down the minor leagues, there was nowhere for him to play when the season started, but with teams being mandated to carry at least one back-up catcher on their taxi squad, he slipped into that role, practicing every day with the major league team and learning the pitching staff while sharing his experience with the two younger back-stops. There were no injuries that necessitated his being activated, but McGuire completely failed to hit, and on September 4th, with the Jays unexpectedly battling for a postseason slot, he took the youngster's place on the roster with the hope that his bat would be a little more thunderous. In his first start against the Boston Red Sox on September 6th, he connected for a homer off Andrew Triggs, showing that he could in fact bring something to the table. But he only played 3 games for Toronto, going 1 for 8, before being designated for assignment on September 11th.
His brother is Corban Joseph.