Here is a nice find by The Ray Area who attended a function with Joe Maddon as the guest speaker. We strongly encourage clicking through to read several other thoughts from JoeMa. But the one we were most intrigued by was Maddon’s plans for Matt Joyce….

Matt Joyce will ultimately be an everyday outfielder but, not on opening day.  Maddon intends to ease him in against LHP by using him against reverse-split lefties (lefties that are harder on right-handed hitters than they are on left-handed hitters).  In Maddon’s view, reverse-split lefties (particularly lefties that use a high-arm angle and rely heavily on a cutter — like Jon Lester, who Maddon specifically identified) give Joyce the opportunity to transfer his success against righties and Maddon hopes that success against reverse-split lefties will ultimately give Joyce confidence against more traditional lefties.

We have long had our sites set on Joyce as the one player that could explode onto the scene this year and have a big breakout season. But that could be tempered a bit if Joyce is only playing two-thirds of the games the first half of the year.

Keep in mind, Joyce still only has 51 career at bats against left-handed pitchers.

Still, we are excited at the prospect that Maddon does at least plan to have Joyce in there as a most-days outfielder at some point.

 
 

35 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    Also, it seems as though Maddon is approaching this with some forethought — choosing lefties against whom Joyce is more likely to have success as part of a transition.

  2. Hal says:

    I heard an interview with Joyce where he said that his father (who I think played professional baseball) was a lefty and he spent his young life hitting against a lefty. That being said, I’m not suggesting that we just throw him out there, but rather that Joyce always seemed like he might hit lefties a little better than he is given credit for.

  3. gatorsfan says:

    how is he supposed to get better without the experience. Hitters become consistent when they get consistent at bats. Its better to have an every day right fielder than to have 2 completely different lineups for righties and lefties. Crawford wasnt necessarily great at hitting lefties when he came up but with the consistent at bats he got better and better, until last year that is.

  4. Joe says:

    This is getting old, Maddon.

    Stop being so protective of him, actually give him a chance at a everyday job unless you are just building him into a platoon hitter for his career, the man must face lefties!

    Sure looks like Brignac will face lefties and I really doubt Jaso ever does so some platoons are going no where. Rodriguez probably wont face righties either.

    Defense always plays and
    Joyce > Zobrist(in arm strength)
    Brignac >>>>>> Johnson(I refuse to even explain this one) and
    Rodriguez > Johnson (again, if you need an explanation on this one, watch more games)
    Jaso > Shoppach (well they both suck but Shop tries too hard and airmails it over the 2B/SS’s heads

    • Derek says:

      But Zobritst>Joyce in everything else, including range, which comes into play a lot more than arm strength. Sure Joyce should eventually be better, but with his injury history, and our surplus of outfielders. Why not ease him into it.

    • Indiana Rays Boy says:

      Joe, I agree with 110 percent. His platooning philosophy has gotten old since 2009. No matter how a LHP is throwing, he should be able to prepare to see the ball, hit the ball. This is the same Joe Maddon that confronted the media that Matt Joyce, Reid Brignac and John Jaso will be everyday players entering 2011. Last year, he mentioned before spring training that Shields, Price, Garza, Niemann and Davis will all pitch 200 innings. A month later after the 22-7 start, he made a comment that he didn’t want wear and tear on his starting five and have them stronger down the stretch and go into October. He doesn’t stick to his word.

      • Andy says:

        (Maddon approaches mound at top of 7th)

        Maddon: How you feeling Shieldsie?
        Shields: I’m pretty good, still battling.
        Maddon: (to Jaso) Watcha think?
        Jaso: He’s starting to miss his spots
        Maddon: I think its time to bring in Balfour. Oh wait, I made a promise to the media. Scratch that, you good for another 3 innings Shieldsie?
        Shields: You bet!

        I’ll take 2 division titles in 3 years, promises be damned….You know what they say about the best plans of mice and men. It applies here.

        • Indiana Rays Boy says:

          Andy, watch Game 2 of the ALDS vs Rangers. Instead of Balfour, he brought in Chad Qualls to face Michael Young and boom there goes the dynamite. Nuff said. :)

          • Indiana Rays Boy says:

            Then again, Bruce Bochy won a championship with pitching and patchwork offense.

          • Derek says:

            Andy made a comment about Maddon not letting his starters get 200 innings (which without injuries they would have) you come back with a comment about game 2 of the ALDS. What???

            Tim lincecum and Cody Ross won the series, not BB.

  5. Don says:

    Derek, I’m turning over a new leaf…
    I think Maddons remarks about how he is going to handle Joyce in 2011 BEFORE Joyce ever touches a bat in spring training (games) is just perfect….
    That is exactly how I would handle a young player trying to secure a fulltime job in MLB….tell him he is NOT going to play in certain situations!
    Joe, you the man!

    • Derek says:

      What someone says to the media will never be the same as what that person says behind closed doors. I dont understand how this upsets people at all. He clearly states Joyce will be an everyday bat soon enough, but with our surplus of outfield bats, we have time to ease Joyce in there. Not toss him into the lions den. Why should the team as a whole suffer while he learns how to hit lefties better? They shouldnt, and now they wont.

      • Don says:

        Exactly, Joe repeat Dale Carnegie…”Motivational speaking”!
        Derek, Find out what spring training (games) are for! plus after 4 years the lions must be getting pretty old…waiting for Joyce!

  6. Joe says:

    Hey Cork, not saying right now but with Maddon confirming Joyce wont start everyday, Ruggiano gone and Maddon also saying Brignac will play SS as much as possible (sorry Johnson). We also have added Juan Cruz, Felipe Lopez and Casey Kotchman if you like their chances. I personally see Cruz as the 2011 Benoit. Also have seen rumors of Damon at 1B possibly?

    Any chance you can update the projected lineup and pen?

  7. Carey says:

    Brig, with his jackass loopy swing, playing more against Lefties than Joyce is a travesty if it happens. Personally, I don’t see any real success for Brig at the plate unless he 1) Takes lots of steroids or, 2) changes that God-awful swing.

    I also have to disagree about Zobrist’s arm. From what I’ve seen, it’s very strong and accurate.

  8. Indiana Rays Boy says:

    WTH!!!! Incredible. Start him from DAY ONE!!!! Enough of him babying players. This quote from Maddon “Matt Joyce will ultimately be an everyday outfielder but, not on opening day” baffles me. Is either he can LHP and RHP or he is a platoon player. Friedman didn’t make this trade for a platoon OF. Let him face LHP during spring training and to see what he can do. Why isn’t Maddon’s job on the line for this? This is complete nonsense and he is going to ruin Joyce. If this is the manager that will win the World Series with the Rays, fans better think twice. Since 2008, he managerial decisions have gotten worse instead if better.

  9. Indiana Rays Boy says:

    WTH!!!! Incredible. Start him from DAY ONE!!!! Enough of him babying players. This quote from Maddon “Matt Joyce will ultimately be an everyday outfielder but, not on opening day” baffles me. Is either he can LHP and RHP or he is a platoon player. Friedman didn’t make this trade for a platoon OF. Let him face LHP during spring training and to see what he can do. Why isn’t Maddon’s job on the line for this? This is complete nonsense and he is going to ruin Joyce. If this is the manager that will win the World Series with the Rays, fans better think twice. Since 2008, his managerial decisions have gotten worse instead if better.

  10. Don says:

    Dear Indiana, your on the right planet, but we have one problem getting rid of Maddon…He works cheap! Right in Stuie/Friedman game plan…
    He makes lots of mistakes but they are overlooked by management that writes his paycheck….but I won’t let up on him….converts are coming around everyday!

    • ttnorm says:

      2 of the last 3 years on top of the Yanks and Sox. Looks like whatever Stu and Andrew and Joe are doing works pretty well. Oh wait we lost Soriano and Crawford because of those 3. We couldn’t have gone to the World Series in 2008 without those guys. No, we did exactly that.

  11. Alex says:

    Why doesn’t he just let him face lefties during spring training? He can get plenty of ab’s against them. Asinine. He’s 26. If he’s going to be an every day player he better get on it fast

  12. dustin says:

    seriously, y’all. listen: there’s no reason to get excited or depressed about matt joyce’s playing time this season unless you’re hoping to draft him for your fantasy team.

    there’s no good reason why maddon ought not play the match-ups as he sees them. it’s worth remembering that prior to maddon’s arrival in the bay, the d-rays were perennial cellar-dwellers. since he’s been around, the rays have gone to the playoffs twice, won the east twice, and been to the world series once (obviously, this has to do with ownership, too; but there’s clearly synergy between baseball ops and the front office, and maddon is part of that).

    many of y’all ding-dongs talk like the rays office doesn’t know what’s what. i understand that many of you hope joyce might become a star, but the fact is, he won’t and he can’t. his upside, if we live in the best of all possible worlds, is an everyday corner outfielder who holds a spot till someone better can be found. joyce is better than 4A, but not much.

    i mean, c’mon. the guy’s rung some dingers, but he’s done absolutely nothing to suggest he’s a full-time, everyday player. you wanna see him against lhp? here’s his mlb slash vs lhp: 157/267/235. here’s his mlb slash vs rhp: 253/353/515. one’s better than the other, no?

    the math is not difficult, and given the flexibility in the rays lineup, there’s no reason at all for maddon to force joyce to be more than a platoon player who can mash rhp. trot him out based on matchups,joyce is a good player. play him everyday, he’s bum. bet on it.

  13. Joe says:

    Quite simple here, let Joyce play every day, if he hits, he hits, if he fails, he fails, but we have to find out!! Give him his shot, and let’s find out and let him grow!! Not everyone is a platoon player!

    • Tom says:

      Joe, If the Rays think they have someone who can hit Lefties better than Joyce and play the outfield as well Joyce don’t you think they should put the other player in the line up? The Rays obective is to win as many games as possible and put the best team on the field.

  14. Cork Gaines says:

    The question that nobody is asking is: how often will Joyce face a lefty under this scenario? How often will the Rays face a reverse-split lefty? once every 2-3 weeks? At most. We like the idea in theory. But in reality, we’re not sure how 2-3 plate appearance every 3 weeks is going to help Joyce.

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