Matt Joyce: Sleeper or Bust?

Had an opportunity to read Danny Knobler of CBS Sports Rays Camp Report and on the side of the article CBS Sports fantasy baseball writer gives a very pessimistic outlook on Matt Joyce's season. Of course, he is more referring to where to draft him in fantasy baseball (so my headline is a little deceiving) but the numbers he floats, his opinion of 2011, and his overall outlook for Joyce is not very positive.

Bust ... Matt Joyce, OF: Wait, this one is labeled wrong. Joyce was a long-awaited minor-leaguer who did nothing but live up to hype when he finally got to play regularly last year, even making the All-Star team. Surely he's more of a sleeper than a bust in waiting, right? Right? Sadly, no. Most of his production last year stemmed from an exceptionally hot May in which he hit .414 with seven homers and a 1.229 OPS. From June 1 to the end of September -- a full two-thirds of the season -- he hit only .226 with 10 homers and a .691 OPS. For the year, he hit only .217 against lefties, likely condemning him to a platoon role again. And because he's already 27 he has less room for improvement than you might think. Joyce's final numbers may look OK but he was by and large a disappointment last year. And if his struggles prevent him from getting full-time at-bats this year, he'll be a waste of a middle-round pick in Fantasy. -- Scott White

Surely there is more to Matt Joyce's 2011 season than just the startling month of May. Putting so much value on May and then lumping from June 1st to the end of the season doesn't seem fair? Joyce had an outstanding April (.884 OPS) and May (1.229) and an awful June (.529 OPS) and July (.653 OPS) He also dealt with a shoulder injury in June and July that the writer neglects to mention and something that may of been more damaging than simple regression.

Looking at Joyce's numbers from August 1st he hit .274/.367/.425. in 169 PAs. One problem that players have when they finally land an everyday job in the big leagues is consistency. Matt Joyce whether through injury or being the victim of inconsistency and failure to adjust struggled for two months of the season. He did find his way later in the season and seemed to either get healthy or made the necessary adjustments.

I am a huge Matt Joyce fan so my viewpoint may be skewed slightly and I am looking at a very productive 2012 for him. Scott White is only downgrading him in terms of fantasy baseball but it does seem to me but I do take exception to the tone of the recap, especially this line:

Joyce's final numbers may look OK but he was by and large a disappointment last year.

This post was written by a member of the DRaysBay community and does not necessarily express the views or opinions of DRaysBay staff.