Grandy’s a stud, is Matt Joyce?

by billfer on August 22, 2008 · 8 comments

in 2008 Season,Players

Baseball Prospectus just released what they call “The Ultimate Fantasy Draft.” Essentially they throw contract status out the window and rank the 50 players that teams should build around. Curtis Granderson earned a ranking of 16, right between Ryan Braun and Tim Lincecum (and two spots behind Miguel Cabrera).

Nate Silver had this to say in the Curtis blurb:

Somewhere around Webb or Braun, we really turned a corner into the next tier of talent. Granderson is just a superlative ballplayer, excelling in every phase of the game, and his work ethic is so strong that he could wind up getting even better.

Now what does this have to do with Matt Joyce? The Spot Starters recently looked at Granderson’s first extended opportunity at playing time, and Matt Joyce’s first extended opportunity. Both seasons occurred when the players were the same age (23). Here’s the kicker, Joyce’s debut has been more impressive than Granderson’s, and its not that close. Joyce hit for a slightly better average, substantially more power, gets on base better, is striking out less…

A pretty interesting and surprising comparison. It’s not a suggestion that Joyce follows the same development path and becomes an elite player, but the skill sets aren’t that different. Both are left handed. Both hit for power. Both walk at an acceptable rate. Both have some speed. Both strike out a little too much (though Granderson has since cut his down).

What separated the two going into their debut seasons was the minor league pedigree. Granderson worked his way up the ladder making progress with each stop and posting impressive seasons. Joyce had a nice debut in short season ball, but his follow up year was simply okay (753 OPS). And he struggled when promoted to AA the following year, nearly getting demoted before heating up.

One other similarity between the two. After their impressive debut seasons, Jim Leyland wasn’t willing to hand a starting spot to either of them going into the next season. Granderson had to “battle” Nook Logan for a spot in spring training. And Leyland would merely say that Joyce is in the mix. Hopefully the similarities continue.

 
 

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thefume August 23, 2008 at 12:12 am

Joyce’s current go-around has certainly reminded me of Grandy in 2005 for some time now–they’re both kinda thinish looking but with good opposite field power. Both seem to kill the fastball, Joyce has to learn how to handle that breaking ball from the right-hander down and in, similar to Granderson I think. If Joyce can improve his weaknesses like Grandy has, he’ll be awesome. Hopefully he can.

Mike R August 23, 2008 at 3:18 am

To say “both have speed” is a misnomer. I don’t think Joyce’s speed is anything near Granderson’s speed. Joyce is a corner outfielder with probably a better arm. I don’t really see a comparison much at all other than left handed, played ball in college, and have some power.

billfer August 23, 2008 at 9:00 am

Joyce is clearly slower than Granderson, but he’s far from slow. And Granderson was largely regarded as a corner outfielder when he was coming up. I’m not saying they are twins, but they have more in common than being left handed outfielders with power who went to college.

Chris in Nashville August 23, 2008 at 9:44 am

I think the best thing about this season has been developing 2 possible studs in Joyce and Galarraga. I’m so disappoointed about this year, but this team is still primed to be good for a while to come. They just have to stay healthy and find consistent starting pitching. Easier said than done.

Slashpyne August 23, 2008 at 11:05 am

The Tiger brass had better plan on Joyce being the starting LF in 2009. The Tigers should look to improve the team in other areas rather than looking for a LF via trade or FA

Michael August 23, 2008 at 10:05 pm

The similarities are very interesting. You can also see where they both had issues with curveballs. Grandy played in the dominican after the 2005 season on the suggestion of trammell. Now Joyce will play in the mexican league to work on the same thing. Both guys are athletic guys but without one or two great obvious tools. They both have power, but neither were seen as power hitters in the minors. Hopefully Joyce will continue to work hard and follow Grandy’s career path.

jadefalcon August 24, 2008 at 4:58 pm

For me the big question with Joyce is whether he can match Curtis’ amazing work ethic and desire to improve. I’m hopeful that he can improve and be as good and consistent as Granderson has, but I’m not banking on it yet. But the prospect of having guys like Joyce and Grandy in the same OF for the next several years is very exciting.

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