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11 Comments

  1. Dirtbag Fan says:

    Gabe Gross should be your obvious choice here (as of now), that deep in the playoffs you need solid D, and he’s the best defensive player of the group.

    If you need a big bat later in the game for a clutch situation you can make the switch to Zobrist, but you’ve gotta start Gross, no question.

    That being said, I’m fairly certain Joyce will be better at some point, just not yet.

  2. Pheenix11 says:

    Umm apparently you did not see Gabe Gross’ spectacular throw into the ground 10 feet in front of him in the ALCS last year or the ball being hit over his head because he was playing too shallow.

    Gabe Gross = The Suck, at the plate and in the field.

    • bobrittner says:

      You are evaluating a player based on one play or one series?! Gabe Gross has been a very useful player for the Rays. I am weary explaining this point so I will spare everyone the explanation which I am sure most people on this site already know. He has filled the role the Rays want him to fill about as well as anyone could.

      • Joe D. says:

        Agreed, Gross got way too much crap last year in the playoffs, let’s not for get that Gross had some decent clutch performances, at least one walk off, maybe 2 or 3.

        Kapler is considered the better and more flexible back up OF, but Gross can play some CF too, and has played some left, he’s got a good strong arm.

    • Dirtbag Fan says:

      @pheenix11:
      So by your standards you wouldn’t want A-Rod playing for you in October either, right? Because he’s had some rough post-seasons as well.

      You’re calling out the exception while ignoring the rule.

  3. Joe D. says:

    I haven’t seen much of Joyce, but he’s the guy with the biggest up side. I believe in the the saying “big players make big plays in big games.” If Joyce is what he’s supposed to be, then that’s who I want in that situation. Zobrist is the the super duty utility guy i’d rather see him in that role.

  4. bobrittner says:

    I selected Joyce because if he starts it means the Rays think he is ready to be a major league regular. I agree with Dirtbag Fan that were the playoffs to begin today I would select Gross for exactly the reasons he gives, but assuming we are talking about October Joyce is hopefully the choice having proven his value by then. In fact, my full hope is that Joyce would start even were a left handed pitcher on the mound as that is what the Rays anticipate will eventually happen.

    Joyce seems to have figured out lefties at AAA so far, but it is still early and I am guessing the Rays want to see more before promoting him. And as Gross has been even better than last year, why rush? It is a pleasure to watch Gross work the pitcher; he is a very smart hitter.

  5. Dirtbag Fan says:

    Prof,

    What about Mr Perez-ident??

  6. Dustin says:

    While I think (and hope) that the eventual correct answer to this question will be Matt Joyce, I agree that there is no question that the answer right now is Gross. Consider this:

    Joyce .834 OPS vs RHP
    Gross .782 OPS vs RHP
    Zobrist .670 OPS vs RHP

    Right here, we ought to remove Zobrist from consideration. I don’t mean to bag on the guy, but he does not hit RHP better than Gross, and he certainly doesn’t field better than Gross. So, there’s not really much of an argument to be made in favor of starting him, or for having him over Joyce as a bat on the bench. If we’re picking based on offense alone, we oughta go with Joyce. But, of course, we’re not picking on offense alone. This is why Gross is the obvious choice. He’s not drastically worse at the plate, and he is the superior fielder.

    How much better a fielder is Gross? The numbers suggest: much better. Consider these numbers from last year:

    Gross .995 Fpct; .943 RZR; 33 OOZ; 6 assists (in RF, 761 innings)
    Joyce .977 Fpct; .895 RZR; 10 OOZ; 0 assists (in RF, 161 innings)

    Obviously, the discrepancy in the number of innings played in makes this comparison a little bit unfair, and it particularly biases the counting stats (OOZ and assists) in Gross’s favor. Nevertheless, both in terms of Fpct and RZR, Gross is significantly better than Joyce, and suggests that Gross has the defensive capacity to make up with his glove for what he might lose you with his bat.

    For the record, Zobrist’s numbers in the OF from last year are: 1.000 Fpct; .885 RZR; 9 OOZ; 1 assist (in CF and LF, 106 innings). Not too bad, actually, but still not as good as Gross.

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