Scouting Yankees Prospect #14: Corban Joseph

Joseph keeps getting better offensively

The Yankees selected second baseman Corban Joseph in the fourth round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of Franklin High School in Tennessee. Always known for his good eye at the plate and advanced swing even in his younger days, his power began to blossom in 2012 with a career-high in home runs at the game's highest minor league level.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Corban Joseph
Position: Second Base
DOB: October 28, 1988
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 185
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

"I think it went really well," he said. "Defensively I feel like I could have done a little bit better but it was Triple-A and it takes me a few months to get my feet on the ground and get used to [a new] level. But overall I think I did what I wanted to do and everything worked out well."

He hit a combined .276 between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton and clubbed a career-high 15 home runs along the way which was more than double his previous high of six set back in 2010.

"I think it's a bunch of factors that all came together at once," he said. "I changed my approach a little bit to where I was looking at certain parts of the plate that I didn't the years before and just focused on my strengths rather than on my weaknesses. It all worked out pretty well."

Always adept at taking pitches to the opposite field, Joseph started thinking more about going up the middle and that allowed him to start turning on inside pitches better.

"Instead of thinking left-center, I was mainly trying to drive ball up the middle and hit hard line drives up the middle," he added. "What happens is I'd see a pitch that looked like a fastball and I'd keep that hand in the middle and it would be a changeup and I'd catch it out in front and the ball would go out to right field."

Part of the power surge though has him starting to develop physically and beginning to get his man strength. A bit wiry when he first signed, he has added nearly 20 pounds of muscle over the years and that has his power game peaking.

"I hope not because I always want to be able to feel like I can improve in every part of my game, but I can tell I've gotten stronger," he said. "I worked pretty hard [in 2011] and I'm continuing to do that this year, and I feel really comfortable where I'm at but you always want more."

Joseph does always want more. He wants to improve more on the defensive side of the ball too, extend his range and get more sure-handed. He'd also like to get back to his .300-plus hitting ways.

But with nearly drawing as many walks as he struck out and considering just how much power he has been able to add to his game recently, he can't help but believe he is big league ready right now.

"I felt like I was ready at the end of the year," he exclaimed. "It's a process and when you're in this profession you realize it. You just have to wait your turn. Ever since I was drafted I've been ready.

"I always felt like I was ready just because it's a mind game. It's the same game you've been playing in A-ball and in Triple-A, but the big leagues are the best of the best and if you're not ready [mentally] you're not going to be ready."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2012 Scranton .266 327 25 13 56 50 0 53 57 .366 .474
2012 Trenton .314 86 4 2 6 9 0 15 13 .412 .430
2011 Trenton .277 499 38 5 58 75 4 59 104 .353 .415
2010 Trenton .216 111 6 0 13 11 1 15 33 .305 .342
2010 Tampa .302 381 27 6 52 52 5 43 74 .378 .436
2009 Charleston .300 380 17 4 57 39 8 49 61 .381 .418
2008 GCL Yankees .277 159 15 2 18 25 2 20 24 .359 .434


Batting and Power. Joseph has always been one of the finest natural hitters in the entire farm system for a variety of reasons; a short compact stroke, a desire to go to the opposite field, an advanced patient approach and a willingness to draw walks, and an innate ability to keep the barrel of the bat through the zone and even change the head of the bat mid-swing. He is and always has been a .300 hitter in the making and now his average big league power is beginning to materialize. That power could begin to play a level up too since he is such a good hitter and big league parks are a bit shorter than the minor league parks he has played in over the years.

Base Running and Speed. Joseph has more speed than his zero stolen base total in 2012 suggests. He has borderline average speed but he's just not aggressive at all in the running game, making his running impact minimal at best.

Defense. Physically Joseph has all of the tools to be an average defensive player at second base. He has decent range, solid hands, and he has gotten much better at the double-play pivots in recent years. His biggest weakness defensively is in the mental game -- he is his own worst critic, gets down on himself for making errors, and then begins to play almost timidly. He just needs more confidence because the defensive game is good enough to man the position.

Projection. It's an interesting dynamic between Joseph the hitter and Joseph the player. Offensively he is as confident as they come and it really shows. It's not a question of if he'll be a .300 hitter in the big leagues someday but more a question of when, and he knows it. And now that the power is beginning to take shape, with his high on-base abilities, he could find permanent residence in the top-half of a big league lineup someday. Defensively though and in the running game he's not nearly as confident when the tools suggest he is better than he gives himself credit for, and he could use better confidence in both areas. He may start his big league career as a Todd Walker type but hitting-wise he has the chance to be Robinson Cano-like down the road, and the comparisons would end there.

ETA. 2013. Joseph is big league ready right now. He'll most likely begin the season back in Triple-A Scranton and at some point the Yankees will have find room for him in the Bronx or ship him elsewhere because the bat is too valuable to sit in the minor leagues for long.

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