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Matt Joyce: Part-time Superstar ★

Pirates right fielder Matt Joyce scores a run after Michael Morse, off camera, hits a double against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Pirates lost 10-8 to the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday afternoon at McKechnie Field in Bradenton. (March 03, 2016; STAFF PHOTO / THOMAS BENDER)

Matt Joyce has been a revelation for the Pirates this year.

Comedian –  Matt Joyce is pretty good this year?

Crowd – HOW GOOD IS HE?!?

Me – Well… I don’t know,  let me do some research….    (frantically searching around Fangraphs)

(5 minutes pass…..)

Me – Holy Crap, he’s been good….


Yes, Matt Joyce has been very very good this year.   I think the arbitrary Pirates fan can see that.    This same fan also knows that he’s been used very cautiously and strategically by Clint Hurdle.

He’s seemingly hit tons of doubles and homers, so I wanted to gauge his power first.   I did this by looking at his ISO.   ISO is isolated slugging percentage aka raw power.   The formula is calculated by taking slugging (SLG) and subtracting batting average (AVG).

Here’s what I found for ISO when I used a minimum of 140 ABs (Joyce has 147):









Joyce is 8th is all off baseball amongst some of the guys you would expect.  Surprising, but not really surprising if you’ve followed him this year.

While I was sorting, I saw Joyce had a 17% walk percentage which is really high; so the next thing I sorted was BB% (with the 140 AB caveat).










Joyce is second in all of baseball, behind only former Pirates farmhand Robbie Grossman, in BB%.

When you combine a really high ISO with a really high BB% you normally get two outcomes:

  1. A TTO player – “three true outcomes” – BB, HR, K – aka a Jack CustRussell BranyanRyan Howard, and Adam Dunn
  2. If the player actually has a decent batting average, let’s say >.280, then they are a total stud

I went looking at the Fangraph stat that is the total of all offense, weighted run creation (wRC+) and answered my question:








Joyce is 2nd in all baseball in wRC+.    He’s been the 2nd best offensive player in the majors per AB for a minimum of 140 ABs.

Lest me remind you that Joyce is making $1M this year, the same amount as Bobby Bonilla’s annual annuity payment received from the Mets.  To date, Joyce has accrued 1.4 WAR.  Using the $7M/WAR assumption:

1.4 WAR x $7M/WAR = $9.8M

Joyce has more than paid for himself and has probably secured himself a 2 year/$10-15M contract in the offseason from some other team.  Every year, there are plenty of Matt Joyces of the world looking to secure jobs late in the winter or early in Spring Training.  The Pirates may have obtained the greatest bargain of the offseason.  Matt Joyce has not only filled in admirably as a spot starter, but his pinch hitting has been been phenomenal.

Kudos to Matt Joyce… part time superstar.

About Michael Bradley (45 Articles)
Michael is a Pirates contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh. Michael is former submarine officer and Naval Academy grad. He now runs a small consulting firm and does veteran related job fairs. He is a SABR member and regularly attends Altoona Curve games to scout the Pirate prospects.
Contact: Twitter

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