As impressive has Welington Castillo has been through his first two games, Buck needs to make sure he doesn’t bury back up catcher Caleb Joseph like he did last year. Last year was a lost year for Joseph, particularly at the plate where he failed to knock in a run all season and ended the year with an abysmal .413 OPS.
With semi-regular playing time the two season before, Joseph proved to be ok at the dish and when combined with his plus defensive skills, he had collected 3.4 WAR over those seasons.
Last year though, with Pedro Alvarez taking up the DH slot on most nights, Buck went with Matt Wieters on an almost everyday basis making playing time for Joseph sporadic. It was the most sporadic playing time Joseph has ever had in his life, and to say his stick took a tumble would be an under statement.
In fact, the only time Joseph hit decently was when he started 8 of 9 game in late July and slashed .308/.333/.308/.641. To Joseph’s credit, he never complained or made excuses, not even when the Orioles sent him back to Norfolk to play everyday in June after coming off an injury.
Castillo is going to be the main starting catcher, but he set a career high with 457 PAs last year and tired in September slashing .215/.271/.329/.600. Castillo has always been a better hitter against left-handers (.287/.354/.484/.839) than right-handers (.244/.306/.393/.699) and Joseph slashed .226/.301/.382/.683 against right-handers when he got 239 PAs against them in 2015.
Perhaps more of a time share is better for both and will give the Orioles an outstanding defensive tandem who can help a bit with the stick. Hopefully Buck will realize the same and give this duo a chance to play.