Ex-Chillicothe Mudcat Joseph could be focal point of ALCS
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — When the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles begin the American League Championship Series in Baltimore Friday night, how the Orioles deal with the Royals' potentially-unnerving speed on the base paths could put a former Chillicothe Mudcat player squarely in the series spotlight.
Caleb Joseph, who played for the Chillicothe college-level, wood-bat baseball team in the summers of 2005 and 2006, is one of two catchers on the Orioles' roster after having been recalled in early May following the season-ending injury suffered by All-Star catcher Matt Wieters .
Having nearly retired from professional baseball last winter after six years in the minors, Joseph's decision to try one more season has led him to a pivotal spot in the 2014 Major League Baseball season.
Although he had one torrid hitting stretch in early August when he set an Orioles record for catchers by hitting a home run in five consecutive games, Joseph generally has had little hitting success. He closed the regular season hitless in his last 30 official at-bats before going zero for three in game 2 of the first-round playoffs series win over Detroit.
However, he was the American League's most-successful catcher in throwing out would-be base stealers, cutting down over 40 percent during the regular season. In addition, his minor-league history and brief major-league time has shown him to be an outstanding handler of pitchers and receiver. By one sabermetric defensive measurement, he has saved Baltimore 10 runs above the major-league average for catchers simply by his "framing" of pitches – receiving a borderline pitch in a way which prompts the umpire to call it a strike, rather than a ball.
Given that Orioles manager Buck Showalter is on record as stressing the importance of not only a catcher's quick release and throwing accuracy in slowing potential basestealers – skills Joseph has clearly shown himself to be better at than fellow O's catcher Nick Hundley, but also the ability to help the pitcher keep runners off base in the first place, many are expecting to see Joseph get the majority of the starts against Kansas City, especially considering Hundley has not hit much either. ALCS preview segments on national cable television channels already last night were zeroing in on the former Chillicothe player as a possible key ingredient in the series' outcome.
Related story about Caleb on St. Joe Newspress Web site.
Welcome to the site of the Chillicothe Mudcats. The 2014 season will mark the thirteenth season of Mudcat baseball. The Mudcats participate in the MINK League (a wood bat league) which is affiliated with the National Baseball Congress. The MINK League is made up of teams from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. Every year the NBC holds a World Series in Wichita, Kansas. In the past twelve years the Mudcats have played in the Series three different times. During the twelve years the Mudcats have always had a winning record.
The Mudcats organization is run by Grand River Entertainment of Chillicothe. GRE is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to bring family type entertainment to the area. The Mudcats have been very successful and the community has been very supportive of the team.
Meet the Coach
2013 Assistant Mitchell To Lead 2014 Mudcats
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Tai Mitchell, an assistant coach for the Chillicothe Mudcats college-level summer baseball team during the 2013 season has been selected by the organization to be its head coach for next season.
Mitchell is a native of Santa Clara,Calif., who played one year at the University of Kansas after two years at De Anza College, a San Francisco-area community college. He will succeed Eric Peterson, who served as head coach for two years.
"I'm excited,Mitchell commented on his appointment. I was blown away this year. We had the best offense in the league and it wasn't even close."
"I can't wait to get back out there."
Commented Butch Shaffer, president of the teams oversight board and fellow Kansas alumnus, he is a worker. He is dedicated to his job and wants to see his players improve. He is always looking for ways to improve his coaching skills and wants to improve the players skills as well. The board is looking forward to working with Tai.
Looking ahead to the 2014 season, the new head coach commented, "I'm hoping to have quite a few returning players. Initial input is there are a lot of guys who'd like to return."
Mitchell also will succeed Peterson as director of baseball operations at the University of Kansas during the 2013-14 school year. Peterson resigned that post after one year to accept the job as assistant pitching coach for Eastern Michigan University.
In two years in Chillicothe, Peterson guided the Mudcats to a composite 59-42 won-lost record.
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