Matt Joyce and Platoons

Edwin Jackson must have been Socrates in one of his past lives, because the man loves bringing debate. The ones we were used to, and now the Matt Joyce rounds. Whatever Edwin touches turns into a 100 comment subthread about this or that. The most prevalent Joyce debate has been over his platoon splits, and whether he should be platooned.

Before you read on, reflect on Joyce's minor league career .721 OPS against lefties and seven runs above average in the corner outfielder and decide whether you think Joyce should require a dance partner.

I'll wait.

Okay, Tommy and myself came up with a list of left-handed hitting corner outfielders, their OPS against southpaws, and the amount of fielding runs they're projected at. Here are the 15 total:

Abreu
Ankiel
Crawford
Damon
Dunn
Ethier
Giles
Hamilton
Hawpe
Hermida
Ibanez
J.D. Drew
Joyce
Markakis
Matsui

Do any of those players sound like halves of platoons? No? Well here's that same list, only sorted by fielding runs:

 

Player FLD Runs
Crawford 9
Giles 8
Joyce 7
Damon 6
Hamilton 3
Ankiel 1
Markakis 1
Ethier 0
Hermida 0
J.D. Drew 0
Matsui -9
Abreu -11
Dunn -13
Ibanez -13
Hawpe -15

Yes, the Rays have two of the top corner outfielders in the league now. Be proud! Note the drop-off following Damon and keep in mind these are projections for corner outfielders, Josh Hamilton isn't nearly +3 in center. Okay, now we're going to sort that same list by career OPS v. LHP desc, Joyce's minor league total will be used, it's more reflective of his true talent level than 200-something major league at-bats.

 

Player LHOPS
Dunn 0.833
Matsui 0.803
J.D. Drew 0.797
Markakis 0.787
Ankiel 0.786
Giles 0.780
Abreu 0.776
Damon 0.747
Hamilton 0.745
Hawpe 0.739
Ethier 0.736
Ibanez 0.733
Hermida 0.730
Joyce 0.721
Crawford 0.695

You wouldn't platoon Carl Crawford and take his glove out of the field, would you? So why do you want to platoon Matt Joyce? Yes, the offensive shortcomings against southpaws will irritate, but Matt Joyce's glove is going to be valuable no matter who the other team has pitching. Besides, he's 24-years-old and should improve on those splits.

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