CONNOR JOE, FIRST BASEMAN
|Born: August 16,1992
Drafted: 1st Round, 39th Overall, 2014
How Acquired: Trade (with Rockies)
College: University of San Diego
Agent: John Boggs & Associates
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|The Pirates selected Joe back in 2014 with the 39th overall pick and announced him as an outfielder. He played first base during his first two seasons at the University of San Diego, before moving behind the plate during his junior year. Despite the announcement, the Pirates apparently drafted him with the idea of him catching, but that never went anywhere because of him running into back problems. The Pirates tried him at third, but that went poorly and he eventually settled in as a first baseman and corner outfielder. Statcast sees him as about average at first and below average in the outfield. Scouts have always liked Joe’s swing a great deal, but he never hit very well until after the Pirates traded him. Even when he hasn’t hit the ball with much authority, he’s almost always shown strong plate discipline. When Joe has hit well, it’s mostly come in the high-offense Pacific Coast League and in Coors Field. He’s generally hit LHPs better than RHPs.
Joe suffered a back strain before he reported to Jamestown and spent the remainder of the summer rehabbing.
The Pirates were very cautious with Joe’s rehab. He didn’t appear at West Virginia until May 11 and got numerous days off once he did start playing. He didn’t exactly struggle at the plate. He had a low strikeout rate and drew a lot of walks, although for an experienced college hitter in low A that’s not generally a strong indicator. What he didn’t do was hit the ball with much authority. On defense, although he played some at third during spring training, he played only first base for the Power.
Joe was the primary third baseman at Bradenton. He played third exclusively and struggled defensively, which isn’t a huge surprise. He had 25 errors and an .892 fielding percentage, and didn’t show good reactions at the position. Once Wyatt Mathisen returned from his shoulder injury, he saw time at third, and Chase Simpson played there some as well, as the Marauders were overloaded with corner players. As a result, Joe played in only 107 of the team’s 134 regular season games. He did, however, stay healthy. At the plate, he got off to a bad start. He had a .582 OPS in April and .688 in May, and struck out in a quarter of his ABs while seeing his walk rate drop sharply. In June, he started hitting, posting a 306/386/428 line the rest of the year. His plate discipline returned, as he had 32 walks and 43 strikeouts, less than one every five ABs. Joe crushed LHPs, with a 1.011 OPS, but posted only a .641 mark against RHPs. All of Joe’s numbers have to be considered in the context of the Florida State League, which is the best pitchers environment in the minors. The league had only a 250/321/356 slash line on the season. McKechnie Field in Bradenton played as the league’s best hitters park a few years ago, but that hasn’t been true in recent seasons. Joe had a .796 OPS at home and .696 on the road.
Joe spent the first four months of the season with Altoona, apart from missing a few weeks in July. He split hit time between first base and right field, and didn’t hit much, although he at least had good walk and K rates. In early August, the Pirates traded Joe to Atlanta for Sean Rodriguez. He hit almost nothing over the last month with the Braves. Near the end of the season, Atlanta traded Joe to the Dodgers for international pool money.
Joe split the season between AA and AAA, and for the first time showed the bat that scouts had expected. He hit for average and power at both levels, and continued to show good plate discipline. The Dodgers played Joe at the infield corners, but he had serious error problems at third, posting a fielding percentage of .888. After the season, the Reds selected Joe in the Rule 5 draft.
During spring training, Cincinnati traded Joe to San Francisco, which meant that the Giants still had to keep him in the majors all year. He lasted only 15 ABs, then the Giants designated him for assignment. After he cleared waivers, they offered him back to the Dodgers. Joe continued hitting well at the AAA level. The Dodgers played him mostly at first, but he saw a little time at third and in the outfield corners.
Joe didn’t see any action during the pandemic season. Afterward, he became a free agent and signed a minor league deal with Colorado.
The Rockies added Joe to their 40-man roster and called him up in early May. He was up and down several times before he came to the majors to stay at the beginning of August. He missed most of September, though, with a hamstring injury. Joe didn’t hit well in his first few weeks in the majors, but as the season went along he began hammering the ball at both levels. In the majors, Joe pummeled LHPs for a .941 OPS. He had a solid .814 against RHPs. Coors Field helped his hitting immensely, as he had a 1.035 OPS at home and .723 on the road. In the field, Joe played first and the outfield corners.
Joe spent the season with Colorado. He spent most of his time in left, but also played some at first and in right. His hitting tailed off sharply. He again had a platoon split, with a .744 OPS against LHPs and .671 against RHPs. And Coors helped again, as he had a .747 OPS at home and .646 on the road. Joe again played first and the outfield corners. After the season, the Pirates acquired him in a trade for Nick Garcia.
The Pirates have needed right-handed hitters for first base and the outfield, a need that just grew when they acquired Ji-Man Choi. Of course, that raises the question whether the Pirates have any plans in mind for Miguel Andujar and Malcom Nunez. Joe has two options left.
|2023: Major League Minimum
|Signing Bonus: $1,250,000
MiLB Debut: 2015
MLB Debut: 3/28/2019
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 12/13/2018
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2021)
MLB Service Time: 1.136
|June 5, 2014: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1st round, 39th overall pick; signed on June 16.
August 5, 2017: Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Atlanta Braves for Sean Rodriguez.
September 24, 2017: Traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Los Angeles Dodgers for international bonus pool money.
December 13, 2018: Selected by the Cincinnati Reds from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Rule 5 draft.
March 21, 2019: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the San Francisco Giants for Jordan Johnson and cash.
April 8, 2019: Designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants; returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 13.
November 2, 2020: Became a free agent.
November 20, 2020: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Colorado Rockies.
May 7, 2021: Contract purchased by the Colorado Rockies.
Deceember 18, 2022: Traded by the Colorado Rockies to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Nick Garcia.