Last Memorial Day, Caleb Joseph suffered one of the worst injuries I have ever seen. As a matter of fact, it was one of the worst injuries that any man alive could suffer.
On an 0-2 pitch from Ashur Tolliver, a check-swing, foul ball, caught Joseph right in the crotch, causing him to have a very unexpected surgery that very same night.
Caleb was in the midst of a slow start, regardless of the injury, going 12-for-66 (.182), in 71 plate appearances. Splitting time with Matt Wieters, he appeared in 23 games as the O’s backup catcher.
Ultimately, Caleb missed the entire month of June, and after returning to action on July 3, he finished the remainder of the season with a .167/.191/.182 line, with zero home runs, and zero RBI’s.
Caleb’s .174/.216/.197 overall line the is one he’d want to put behind him forever.
Sure, his numbers fell off last season, but you have to imagine that it was the shot to the crotch that affected him for the remainder of the year.
Maybe, but he’s not the only catcher that’s experienced a foul ball to the groin.
In 2008, while playing with the Diamondbacks, Chris Snyder suffered almost the same type of injury that Caleb Joseph did last season, only worse. Snyder fractured his left testicle, and Caleb’s damage pertained to the right.
However, the testicular injury to Snyder didn’t affect him in a way it seemed to have affect Joseph.
In 64 games prior to hitting the disabled list, Snyder hit .246/.339/.440 with seven home runs. Upon his return on July 20, Snyder preceded to hit .224/.360/.469 with nine home runs, finishing the season with 16 homers, and a slash line of .237/.348/.452.
In the years following Snyder’s testicle injury, he rounded out his career with the Pirates, Astros, and he played in nine games with the Orioles in 2013.
Production fell of for Snyder, finishing the final five seasons of his career with a .202/.321/.348 line, 31 home runs, and 113 RBI’s.
Given his numbers directly following his testicle injury, you can only argue that just his batting average was affected by the injury, and even that would be debatable.
Snyder, isn’t the only one who’s had the fate of taking a foul ball to the nads.
Last season, Yan Gomes of the Indians, had a foul ball hit him in man land, however, he didn’t miss any significant time due to it. That injury wasn’t as severe as Joseph’s or Snyder’s though.
With the signing of Welington Castillo, Caleb may not see much playing time, especially given that Castillo has hit lefties pretty well in his career (.287/.354/.485), and Joseph has a sub .220 average, and below .300 OBP against righties, and lefties.
I expect the Orioles to keep a close eye on Caleb’s production this season in the backup catcher role. He could be used as trade bait by the deadline, or even into next offseason, as the Orioles await the arrival of catcher of the future, Chance Sisco.