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A Look At The Rookie Seasons Of Evan Longoria & Matt Joyce

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There has been plenty of debate on this site about the Edwin Jackson/Matt Joyce trade. Pretty soon we'll get to see just what we have in Matt Joyce as he will most likely be the Rays opening day centerfielder. I've been through the Jeromy Burnitz comparison, and he and Joyce share a few qualities. They are lefthanded batters, they play the outfield and their numbers during their first year were similar. I think the consensus among all of us is, if we can get Joyce to be Burnitz at the plate and similar to Gabe Gross in the field, that would be ideal. However, I did notice a comparison to another 2008 rookie.

 

Let me start this by saying this; this post is not meant to say that Matt Joyce is the next Evan Longoria. Evan Longoria is a stud, he was the unanimous Rookie of the year and Joyce was not. But how did Joyce's half a season compare to Longoria's first half? You may be surprised. Most would agree Longoria made it look easy from the start, but up in Detroit, Matt Joyce was doing the same thing without all the fanfare.

Note because of Joyce's small sample size, the data is limited, but here is a look at Joyce vs. Longoria through their first 277 plate appearances.

 

Joyce

Longoria

PA

277

277

AB

242

240

AVG

0.252

0.254

OBP

0.339

0.332

SLG

0.492

0.496

OPS

0.831

0.828

2B

16

17

HR

12

13

RBI

40

42

BB

31

30

K

65

63

Unfortunately, Joyce only received those 277 plate appearances in his rookie year, but that is about as close as you can get across the board. Let's also note that Longoria played against both left and right handed pitchers, while the bulk of Joyce's at bats came in a platoon role facing righties. Longoria also had a great second half of the season and post season. Again, this was not meant to say that Joyce is going to be as good as Longoria, but the comparison, albeit a small sample size, is encouraging.

Two weeks ago, I was sure Matt Joyce was going to start the season in Durham and possibly stay down there until September, and I was completely fine with that. Fast forward to today and Joyce is easily one the most interesting players on Rays major league roster, and while he may spend some time at Durham I am eagerly awaiting the day when he's in the Rays lineup with Longoria for good.