Matt Joyce is the second oldest player on the Miami Marlins 40-man roster.
Joyce is a six-foot-two, 200 lb. lefty-batting, righty-throwing outfielder from Tampa, FL. He was chosen out of Florida Southern College in the 12th round of the 2005 MLB Amateur Entry Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Three years later, Joyce had worked his way up through the Tigers system to make his major league debut in Detroit. In 92 games as a rookie, he hit .252/.339/.492 with a dozen home runs and 33 RBI. After the season, the Tigers traded Joyce to the Tampa Bay Rays for Edwin Jackson.
Joyce spent the majority of his career thus far with the Rays, spending six seasons and appearing in 633 games in total. In 2011, he made his only All Star appearance to date, hitting .277/.347/.478 with 19 homers, 75 RBI, and 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts.
After the 2014 campaign, Joyce has put a lot of miles on his frequent flier plan. He spent 2015 with the Los Angeles Angels, 2016 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2017 and 2018 with the Oakland Athletics, and 2019 as part of the Atlanta Braves.
Despite Joyce’s occasional power stroke (he has 145 home runs in parts of 12 major league seasons), his stock in trade has always been his ability to get on base by being patient. It’s become more pronounced in recent seasons. For his career he’s struck out 1.67 times per walk, versus last year when he drew 38 walks versus 45 strikeouts in 238 plate appearances for the Braves. He also put together a decent .295/.408/.450 slash line in 129 games.
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Joyce hits well against the shift. Last season, his wOBA with no shift on was just .302, versus a mark of .402 when defenses accounted for his tendencies. I think it should be pretty clear based on that to not shift against Joyce, yet opposing defenses did just that 69.7 percent of the time, according to Statcast. He signed with the Marlins for one year and $1.5 million, with a possible $250K in incentives.
Joyce seems to be the choice du jour to open the 2020 season as the Miami Marlins fourth outfielder. Since the team will be carrying 13 fielders instead of 12, we may be getting back to the days of six infielders, five outfielders, and two catchers. The inclusion of Jon Berti on the roster simplifies things somewhat, as he can play just about anywhere. Jonathan Villar, Brian Anderson, Garrett Cooper, and Miguel Rojas also boast multi-positional capability.
As far as that goes, Joyce has appeared 569 times in right field and 427 times in left, versus just eight in center. That is to say, he’s pretty much limited to corner outfield positions. But that’s just what he’s being paid for.