When the Cincinnati Reds selected Connor Joe in the Rule 5 draft in December he was announced as a catcher. That jumped out a little bit because he had never actually caught a single pitch in a game. He had played a lot of positions in the Minor Leagues. Joe had experience at first base, second base, third base, left field, and right field. Catcher was not one of those spots.
When it comes to catching, though, Connor Joe isn’t entirely inexperienced. In college at San Diego he did catch briefly during his junior season, and in the Cape Cod League. The Dodgers moved him off of the position as a professional, though. That is, until October of 2018. In instructional league Los Angeles gave him another look behind the plate. Earlier today, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale reported that Joe will focus on catching according to manager David Bell.
David Bell said Connor Joe will focus on catching. He was the #Reds’ Rule 5 pick and has experience in minor leagues at 1B, 2B, 3B and corner OF spots.
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) February 13, 2019
With both Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali on the roster already. That makes it tough to see where Connor Joe would get much time behind the plate unless there were an injury to one of those two players. With that said, having confidence that he can be a viable third catcher does give David Bell some flexibility in how he could use Barnhart or Casali as pinch hitters on days when they aren’t the starter.
The lack of experience catching professional pitching still leaves it very unlikely that Connor Joe sees much time behind the dish. He’s far more likely to be used as a backup option on the corners. He can play the corners on the infield and outfield, and be used as a pinch hitting option. As was written two weeks ago, it’s perhaps the hitting ability for Joe that could be the most interesting aspect of his game. He had a breakout year in 2018 after changing his approach at the plate with the Dodgers.