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Assessing Matt Joyce

Matt Joyce is going to be a fantastic hitter one day soon.

Entering yesterday's game, Joyce's time in Triple-A resulted in 392 plate appearances. His line during this time is .292/.375/.539 with 17 homeruns 101 strikeouts and 43 walks. In ratio form, Joyce has a walk rate of ~11% and a strikeout rate of ~29%. The 24-year-old Joyce also has an ISO of .247; of Joyce's 100 Triple-A hits, 48 have been for extra bases (28 doubles, 3 triples, 17 homeruns). Joyce has also been successful on 7 of 11 steal attempts. Carl Crawford he's not, but Joyce seems to have a decent set of wheels underneath him.

A lot has been made of Joyce's platoon split, and his increase in hitting lefties this season. Frankly, that concern seems a bit silly. While ideally you would want a hitter with equal (and good) hitting abilities against both dexterities, if you are going to feature a player with tilted numbers, make it a lefty. Most of the league's starting pitchers are righties. Joyce is decently against southpaws throughout his career anyways.  Plus, people don't call for pinch hitters when lefties enter against Carl Crawford or Carlos Pena.  

How do Joyce's Triple-A numbers stack up against the younger Rays' numbers as well as comparison toy Jayson Werth? Behold:

Player Age PA K% BB% ISO
Longoria 21, 22 158 26 16 0.178
Upton 19, 20, 21 1414 24 13 0.173
Dukes 22, 23, 24 391 19 13 0.191
Young 19, 20 604 17 3 0.159
Joyce 23, 24 392 29 11 0.247
Werth 23, 24 902 28 11 0.204


These numbers are raw (a la no park adjustments) so take that into account and also look at the ages. A .150 ISO as a 20-year-old is more impressive than a .150 ISO as a 24-year-old at the same level, park, etc. of course that makes the Werth comparison all the more apt. If Joyce turns out to be a lefty Werth, consider his career a success. Over the last three seasons, Werth has posted WARs of 5.3, 3.4, and 1.5.

Joyce is going to walk some, he's going to strike out a bit, and he's going to hit a boat load of doubles while playing above average corner outfield defense. Be excited.