Matt Joyce’s Month | The Process Report

Matt Joyce’s Month

Matt Joyce is off to a sluggish start in 2013, exiting Sunday with a .209/.274/.403 slash line. He’s walked eight percent of the time and struck out in another 23 percent of his plate appearances.

It’s an uncharacteristic start for Joyce, who owns a career .252/.340/.461 line with peripherals of 11 percent walks and 22 percent strikeouts.  Of course a streaky month or two here or there is nothing new for Joyce, who, for whatever reason, has found success in May.

Joyce has been at his best in May, as Sternfan, a friend of the site, likes to note. In 206 career plate appearances in the month of May with the Rays, Joyce has a .456 wOBA walking 14 percent of the time while striking out just 16 percent. Most striking is how those numbers stack up against the other months for Joyce in a Rays uniform.

SPLIT PA K% BB% BABIP wOBA
Mays 206 16% 14% 0.386 0.456
Others 1149 22% 11% 0.278 0.330

Although it’s mostly trivial—there’s no real reason for a player to struggle or succeed in one month—it does lend itself to a dim stretch of play from Joyce. In the time since May 2012 Joyce has racked up 352 plate appearances while performing poorly. His hot/cold zone map as it pertains to batting average is not easy on the eyes.

strike-zone

The cold area at the bottom of the strike zone has long been a weak spot for Joyce but most concerning is the large area of indifference in the heart of the strike zone. During this run, nearly 80 percent of the balls Joyce puts in play are to his pull side or straight away center, as he rarely goes the other way.  Most pitchers will work hitters like that away in order to get them to roll over and hit ground balls to the pull side, something Joyce has done 62 percent of time when hitting ground balls.

In the previous months of May, Joyce’s hot/cold zone has a dramatically different look and feel:

MOM

With May forthcoming here’s hoping Joyce can blossom once again. Perhaps this time the bud will stay on the flower in the months thereafter, too. It’ll have to if the Rays want to make noise in 2013.



3 Comments

  1. gabeisaacson wrote:

    Do you have any idea of why this may be? The data is convincing that he hits better in May, but if there’s no reason, isn’t it possible to regress to norms just as easily?

    • It is absolutely possible. He himself has said it is tough to get into a rhythm when he has to sit vs LH which may explain why he is typically a slow starter. Why he has tended to slump back down each summer is still perplexing.

      • gabeisaacson wrote:

        That’s very interesting. Seems like a big give and take.. You’d have to wonder Rays people are aware of this and have tried to solve this very paradox. Thanks for the reply, I’m a huge fan of the site and the podcast with Paul.

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