Don Atley Joseph
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 190 lb.
- School University of Houston
- High School Jack C. Hays High School
- Debut July 11, 2013
Pitcher Donnie Joseph was named the Cincinnati Reds' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010.
Donnie had a 8-1, 1.40 record as a high school junior. His senior year, he not only starred on the baseball field but also football (finishing as Hays' second-time all-time leading receiver) and basketball (30 points in a game). As a freshman in college, he was 1-1 with a save, 6.42 ERA and .338 opponent average. His sophomore year was equally unimpressive (2-1, 5.72, .288, 33 BB in 56 2/3 IP). As a junior, though, he became Houston's closer and excelled, going 3-1 with 11 saves, a 2.16 ERA, .186 opponent average and 75 strikeouts in 50 innings. He was first-team All-Conference USA as the top relief pitcher and finished second in the conference in saves behind Collin Cargill.
He was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round of the 2009 amateur draft. The scout was Jerry Flowers and the signing bonus was $398,000. He made his pro debut that summer with the Billings Mustangs, going 2-1 with a 0.77 ERA in 8 games before being promoted to the Dayton Dragons in late July. With Dayton, he was 2-2 with 4 saves, a 4.35 ERA and 31 K in 20 2/3 IP. He spent the majority of 2010 with the Lynchburg Hillcats, for whom he saved 17 games, second-best in the Carolina League behind Cory Burns. Overall that year, he was 3-5 with a 2.08 ERA, .182 opponent average and 24 saves (most by a Reds farmhand) in 57 outings for three different teams and was named the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He whiffed 103 in only 65 innings. He had the best strikeout rate of any minor league reliever, with his 14.26 a solid .27 over runner-up Bryce Stowell.
With the AA Carolina Mudcats in 2011, he struggled at 1-3 with a 6.94 ERA and 8 saves while leading the Southern League with 57 appearances. His opponent average rose to .286, a gain of 104 points in a year, though his strikeout rate remained good (66 in 58 1/3 IP). He did better in the Arizona Fall League, going 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 16 2/3 IP. He started 2012 with the AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos, where he was 4-2 with 13 saves and a minute 0.89 ERA in 26 games. He was promoted to the AAA Louisville Bats and continued to pitch well, with a record 4-1, 5 saves and a 2.86 ERA in 18 games. At the trading deadline on July 31st, he was one of two minor leaguers sent by the Reds to the Kansas City Royals in return for veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton (the other was J.C. Sulbaran). Jospeh thus finished the year with the Omaha Storm Chasers, for whom he pitched 11 times. Between the three stops, he was a combined 9-3, 2.33 in 55 games out of the bullpen, with 20 saves and 87 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings.
Following his excellent season, Joseph headed to spring training with the Royals in 2013 as a player to watch. He got off to a tremendous start in his first two appearances of the spring, striking out the side against the Texas Rangers on February 23rd in his first appearances, and then doing the same to the Cleveland Indians on February 26th, but this time needing only 9 pitches to pull the trick. He did not make the team to start the year, being sent back to Omaha. In 31 outings, he went 3-3, 3.55 with 3 saves. He continued to pile on the strikeouts, with 59 in 38 innings. He was promoted to the big league team on July 11th, but was not as sharp in his debut against the New York Yankees. He started the bottom of the 7th with the Royals trailing, 8-4, and retired the first batter he faced, Vernon Wells, on a line-out. However, he then walked Lyle Overbay and gave up a single to Zoilo Almonte and was replaced by Louis Coleman who got out of the inning without any runs scoring.