Back in high school, I was lucky enough to play against some amazing baseball players in the Philadelphia Catholic League. Several went off to play on Division 1 teams like North Carolina and South Carolina, while some went straight into the minors after being drafted out of high school.
One such player was the newly signed Phillie out of Neumann Goretti High School, Josh Ockimey. I still remember the first time we played against him back in 2011, when he was just a freshman in high school.
Ockimey went on to win the same PCL MVP that other Philly-area draftees had won years prior: Jim Haley (Rays) and Christian Walker (Diamondbacks). Now, he gets to play for his hometown team, and he already fits into the Philly culture.
Josh Ockimey’s Background
Neumann Goretti has always been a baseball power in the PCL, and we always gave them a good game. As we got off the bus in South Philly, we had heard about the power-hitting first baseman who was only a freshman, but we didn’t really know what to expect.
When Ockimey stepped in the box and took his swings, flashes of Ryan Howard immediately popped into my head. And when he made contact, that ball would fly, especially given that Neumann’s field didn’t have a fence. I knew he was a special player, but to see him in a Phillies’ uniform is extraordinary.
After being drafted in the 5th round by the Red Sox in 2014, Ockimey has bounced around the minors until being brought up to Triple-A in 2018. Ockimey has 45 home runs and 117 RBIs in his 247 games over 3 seasons, which has primarily been his calling card as his Triple-A batting average hovers at .214.
His Potential Impact
The Phillies would love to get some depth behind Rhys Hoskins, especially given the uncertain status of Brad Miller’s contract, and Hoskins coming off the groin injury. Ockimey wouldn’t be the first Philly-area native to earn a rotational spot on the Phillies, with Phil Gosselin serving as a utility man in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Ockimey’s career trajectory will be even more interesting to watch, with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announcing the universal DH coming to the National League. Having a DH in the NL opens the door for more position players to carve out a niche for themselves, and Ockimey is a prime candidate to do so. Personally, I can’t wait to see a lineup with Bryson Stott and Josh Ockimey in it, even if it’s just in Triple-A.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire