2011 Rays Projections: Matt Joyce
When the Rays traded starting pitcher Edwin Jackson for young outfielder Matt Joyce back on December 10th of 2008 everyone knew it was a good swap for both teams. The Rays had a plethora of starting pitchers and were in need of a young, cheap bat with power.
Well, over the past two seasons Edwin Jackson has pitched a no-hitter against the Rays and been worth 7.3 fWAR. Matt Joyce has found it hard to crack the Rays lineup and has only had 298 plate appearances with the big club.
It’s 2011 now and Edwin Jackson has been traded twice and Matt Joyce is looking to get a lot of at-bats in Joe Maddon’s many lineups. Here are my 2011 projected numbers for the young slugger with a career .243 ISO in just under 600 plate appearances:
If I had to make my own “gut” predictions I would say Joyce is a virtual lock to hit 25+ homeruns but I have to look at his playing time realistically.
Joyce may find it hard to crack the lineup against tough left-handers but should be in almost every lineup against any right-hander. Maddon is great at playing the right guys in the scenarios and Joyce should find plenty of playing time if RF, LF, DH, and as a pinch-hitter.
Joyce’s projected totals should net him around 3 fWAR in 2011, give or take a couple tenths depending on how much defensive value he adds because +5 UZR may be low. This will be the year people will stop saying the Rays lost the Jackson-Joyce trade and realize it was a great trade for the Rays.