After catcher Caleb Joseph hit .284 in 2009 at Single-A Frederick and made the Carolina League All-Star team, he had high hopes for the 2010 season with Double-A Bowie.
But he got off to a slow start and never really got his bat going. He finished hitting .235 in 106 games and fell off some of those top prospects lists.
But after his key two-RBI single helped Bowie beat Richmond on Wednesday, Joseph is now batting .289 with three homers, 14 RBIs, a .394 on-base average and an .828 OPS in 26 games for the Baysox.
He is hitting better this time around at Bowie and really credits two things for that: some swing adjustments he made while hitting .421 in 11 Arizona Fall League games late last year and his better handling of the mental aspects of the game this season.
“I feel a lot better than last year, more comfortable. Last year, if I would have come up to the plate 0-for-2 (in a game), in that last at bat I would have been really freaking out, trying to press and get a hit,” Joseph said.
“I needed to change a few things in my swing. A few timing and mechanical issues. I got a chance to do work there (in Arizona) when you are not playing every day.”
Joseph is 5-for-10 over his last three games.
“Success breeds confidence. So it’s easy to feel good now. Ask me in August how I feel. As for now, I’m just trying to not do too much. Have a good approach and put a good swing on the ball,” said Joseph, the Orioles’ seventh-round pick in 2008.
As for that mental part of the game, Joseph said he is dealing better now with his hitting and understands even the best hitters make an out about seven times out of 10.
“For me, it comes down to dealing with failure. How I have been able to figure out how to deal with failure. The first few weeks of this season, I was under .200. But I knew it was just a matter of time before I could square some balls up,” he said.
Joseph is batting .314 on the season against left-handed pitching and is batting .391 when hitting with runners in scoring position.