This week, at the Phillies’ winter charity banquet in Lakewood, NJ, I had the opportunity to speak with Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan about many matters related to the Phillies developmental system. Included in the topics of discussion were the depth at the catcher position, the team’s plans for some of their youngest prospects and two former top draft picks among other things.
Prior to joining the Phils last off-season, the former pro catcher held the position of director of scouting with the Baltimore Orioles. The University of Oklahoma product also previously worked in scouting with the Expos and Marlins.
Read ahead for that full interview.
- Looking back on last year, it seems the system underwent a bit of a refined approach since you were hired, with several players from the 2012 draft class quickly made their debuts with Class A full season Lakewood. In previous seasons that was rather rare. Can you speak on that a bit?
Well, I don’t know, as far as the change of approach. But, the thing that I really tried to do last year, when I came over, was I tried to involve as many people as I could in our decision making process. I did not make those decisions by myself. I really leaned on Benny Looper, our assistant GM, who has done my job before and he is my boss. But, I also leaned heavily on the managers and the rovers that see the players, really, more than I do, that knew the players. And I think there were some instances where maybe we were being more aggressive, maybe, than the past. But really, it was a group decision and most of them I think were good decisions. I think a couple of them maybe the player wasn’t quite as ready as we thought, but, you know, I don’t really believe in pushing guys, but I believe in keeping them challenged and that’s what we tried to do.
- The Phillies currently have considerable catching depth in their developmental ranks. Is that a nice luxury to have?
It is and it’s very unusual and we’re very fortunate, as an organization. It’s a hard, hard position to find and we feel good. We really feel good. Obviously, we have a fine catcher in the Major Leagues, an All-Star catcher. But, you know, when you look at Double-A and Triple-A, behind that, we’ve got Steven Lerud, who did a good job for our Major League team, when he went up last year. And he’s a very good defensive catcher, but prospect wise, when you look at (Sebastian) Valle and (Cameron) Rupp and Tommy Joseph, obviously, you know, those guys have gotten a lot of attention and it’s warranted, because they’re, I think…they have talent, but it’s a competitive situation and that’s gonna help all of them, because they’re gonna have to come to camp ready to go and ready to perform. We like that, down low we’ve got some guys that we like as well.
Continue reading PN Interview: Joe Jordan Talks Young Prospects, Catching Depth & More