We have been providing snippets of the statlines for Matt Joyce and Desmond Jennings in the morning “Down the Farm” report. But let’s draw them out a little more. And in the comments, let’s hear what you think the Rays should do with these prospects.

Notes on the stats after the table…

Notes on Joyce and Jennings

  • The biggest question mark for Joyce heading into the season was whether he was ready to handle lefties on a regular basis. Certainly it is a small sample size, but you have to like what you see so far. And many of the at bats against lefties have been late-inning relievers brought in to specifically face Joyce. That is exactly the type of situation you hope that Joyce can handle once he is promoted.
  • Overall, Joyce is smoking the ball to the tune of a 32.1% line drive rate (20.0% is very good). Certainly the Rays have to feel that Joyce is pretty much ready right now. The only question is how do they make room for him on the roster. Either Gabe Gross or Gabe Kapler will have to be traded or released. Kapler’s salary would be easier to swallow, but he offers more positional flexibility off the bench.
  • As for Jennings…we always said we needed to see him do it above the single-A level. He has not disappointed and we are officially sold. There is nothing not to like. Strong numbers across the board against lefties and righties. The only knock might be that his numbers against lefties might be a little bloated with a .609 BABIP. Based on his LD% that should be closer to .350. Either way, we have seen players promoted to the majors from double-A with less impressive stats.
  • What this ultimately presents is a very interesting situation for the Rays next spring. Carl Crawford has a $10 million team option. BJ Upton is the center fielder. That leaves Joyce, Jennings and Fernando Perez possibly all looking for a big league job.
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11 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Joyce in the bigs & Jennings in AAA seems about right to me. Of the two Gabes, I think you probably have to keep Kapler, since he can spell Joyce and Upton if needed (and you could deal with Kapler in center and Zorilla in right for a night or two if you had to).

    I think getting Joyce up here has to be a priority. He's a dangerous bat in a lineup that doesn't frequently look dangerous so far this year outside Wheels Crawford and the Dynamic Duo.

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  2. Dirtbag Fan says:

    You're comparing Joyce's AAA stats to Jennings' AA stats, so its a tough comparison given the fact that Joyce is seeing better pitchers on a daily basis.

    The only way to do a lateral comparison would be if Jennings got the call to Durham and was facing the same level of competition.

    I don't fathom any situation where Jennings would get the call before Joyce.

    And as far as the Kapler v. Gross scenario goes, I don't think Kapler's positional flexibilty plays a huge roll given that Zobrist and Aybar are equally or more flexible and would be available if need be.

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    • Michael says:

      I don't think the point of the Professor's post was to directly compare Joyce against Jennings to decide who is closer to the majors. I'm pretty sure he just wanted to give some more in-depth numbers for both guys since both are doing extremely well so far and all we see on a daily basis is their lines in a box score. He makes the point at the end of the post that Jennings might make things interesting when trying to map out the OF for 2010 and beyond, but I don't think there's any question that Joyce is very much ahead of Jennings in line for a big league spot.

      With that said, seeing what Joyce did last year with Detroit, with us in Spring Training, and with Durham so far this year, he looks to me like a tailor-made #6 hitter to go behind the Longo-Pena-Burrell 3-4-5. This is as opposed to trying to take someone like Gross/Navarro/Kapler/Zobrist and make them fit as a #6 hitter where they really don't belong. Joyce can't get here soon enough in my opinion and would just give our lineup that much more depth.

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  3. Joe D. says:

    I think when I went to go see Price at Vero last year. in his last A+ start I saw Jennings, if so he was just coming back from injury, but I really don't remember anything sticking out to me. Obviously I've read and heard all of the numbers and scouting reports, and if he keeps it up I'm sure we'll all see plenty of him in the future.

    I'd still really like to see what Perez can do at the ML level for at least half a season as a most days OF. When I've seen Perez, he likes to try to Drag Bunt his way one, especially as a lead off guy, then some times sucks the IF in, and swing away, I think that might actually be faster then CC and/or Upton. I haven't really seen or heard much about his arm, not sure if he's a good RF option or not.

    I know has talked about a lot on here, how the Rays probably can't afford CC next year, but I think that with Joyce, and Jennings hot starts really begins to number the days for Ruggiano, more then anyone in the Rays system.

    If the Rays decided that both Joyce and Jennings need to be promoted ASAP, then I think the current OF I'd miss the least right now is Kapler.

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    • Joe D. says:

      As far as positional flexibility, I mentioned it on the comments section of the poll, but I think that Gross has more positional flexibility then he's given credit for he can and has played all all 3 OF positions.

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  4. brianknowsbest says:

    I say in the off season trade crawford for brandon morrow. or someone young and cheap who can become a papelbon/rivera type closer. Morrow is the only one i see with that capabiltiy who is affordable.

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    • brianknowsbest says:

      and then put perez in left, joyce in right. With desmond jennings heating it up in AAA, and if he is ready by 2010, then have perez coming off the bench.

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  5. bobrittner says:

    Very few people outside of TB fans think Perez will be a regular outfielder; at best his ceiling seems to be a good 4th outfielder/pinch runner.

    Calling him a switch hitter is misleading as he is practically helpless from the left hand side of the plate. He also strikes out an awful lot, which is not bad in itself, but AAA hitters who strike out a lot often are exposed in the majors.

    I would never deal a good regular player for a closer-well, almost never. Closer is the most overrated role in baseball and the easiest to fill adequately. With a few exceptions, teams will win most of the games they lead going into the 9th regardless of who the closer is, or for that matter even if they have no designated closer which ought to be the goal of management anyway.

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    • Justin H says:

      I don't know if the closer is the easiest to fill adequately, look at the 90's Braves until they moved Smoltz out there they never an adequate closer and despite the 14 straight pennants the team on won one world series. Once you get into the playoffs it's so important to have a great closer, look at what Lidge did last season for the Philles.

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  6. Rayhawk says:

    That means Gabe Gross is toast. Its ok as long as Fernando Perez is back, would like to see him in a full season. Stealing bases at the top and bottom of the order,, nice.

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  7. Justin H says:

    I think we all know Joyce can hit, that's obvious, but it was the fielding that scared me in his series against the red sox opening week. I don't think he dropped any of the balls, but he just looked completely lost running around in the outfield. With that said I still think Joyce needs to be called up cause much rather see him out there than Zobrist, Kapler, or Gross, even with that amazing throw by Gross last night when he almost gunned out Damon at second.

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