8. Caleb Joseph showed big improvement.
Caleb Joseph shared time with Nick Hundley in 2014 after Matt Wieters went down. After Hundley moved on, Joseph was the primary catcher for the Orioles until Wieters returned in early June. Joseph batted just .207 in 82 games in his rookie year, and looked out of his depth at times against Major League pitching. This year was a different story, especially when Joseph was the number one catcher in Wieters’ absence. In April and May, Joseph hit .254 with four home runs and 18 RBI. After Wieters returned, Joseph did slump, but the Orioles should have seen that coming. Most Major Leaguers will not produce at the same level when playing every other day, or two days out of five. Joseph was able to string together a solid August, but by the end of the year, his average was all the way down to .234.
Still, Joseph should have done enough to give the Orioles reason to do more than consider moving on from Wieters, a free agent. The pitching staff had a lower ERA with Joseph behind the plate, and his defense has surpassed Wieters. Joseph will likely make over $15 million less than Wieters next season while providing approximately the same offensive pop and better pitch calling, pitch framing, and overall defensive abilities. For the Orioles, it’s time to move on and christen Caleb Joseph the starting catcher on a full-time basis in 2016.