Acquired in a trade with the Detroit Tigers before the 2009 season for Edwin Jackson, many people assumed that Matt Joyce was going to play a large role for the Rays in 2009. They were mistaken. RF was manned by Gabe Kapler, Gabe Gross and Ben Zobrist, and Joyce only was on the big club for 11 games.
There is reason for optimism for 2010 though. Joyce was a pretty good OF when he was on the Tigers, but AAA Manager Charlie Montoyo thinks he is much better than he was before he got there.
“He just got a lot better in the outfield,” Montoyo said. “He was a good outfielder to begin with, but he’s an above-average rightfielder right now.”
Combine another stellar OF’er with BJ Upton and Carl Crawford, and you have the makings of one of the top OF’s in the game if Joyce can win the starting job.
“I don’t think I’m gonna go in and expecting to have it,” Joyce said. “I’m going in with the mind-set I have to go win it.”
In Durham, Joyce had 417 AB’s. He had 114 hits, 35 2b, 2 3b, 16 HR, 66 RBI, and 14 steals. He did strikeout almost 100 times (98) but showed some patience as well with 67 walks. if he can up that BB total a little, and show some more patience at the plate, he has a chance to be a 20/20 guy for the Rays in a full time role.
Bill James has some similar projections to what I just suggested, with a few less steals.