Tag:Matt Joyce
Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 2:14 pm
  •  
 

Players of the Month: Bruce, Verlander/Sanchez


By Matt Snyder


May mostly belonged to the pitcher. Sure, there were some pretty stellar performances by hitters (including our selection, Jay Bruce), but the month belonged to dominant pitching as a whole.

May's Best
Expert Batter Pitcher
Knobler Bruce Verlander
Miller Bruce Verlander
Brunell Joyce Kershaw
Rosecrans Bruce Putz
Snyder Bruce Sanchez
Fantasy Bruce Sanchez
Just look at some of the names we had to choose from when it came to strong pitching performances in May.

The following pitchers threw at least 20 innings and had an ERA below 2.00: Josh Beckett, Erik Bedard, Jeremy Hellickson, Josh Collmenter, Tim Lincecum, Anibal Sanchez, Jair Jurrjens, Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw and Ryan Vogelsong. There were eight more at 2.25 or below for the month (again, with at least 20 IP). And this is only starting pitchers, as there have been several dominant relievers, too. Basically, this was a tough choice, and our variety of selections backs that up. In cases like this, there aren't really any wrong answers -- just lots of right answers.

On the offensive end, Jose Bautista continued to silence doubters. In April, he was showing 2010 was no fluke and in May he was showing April sure wasn't either. He hit .360 with 11 home runs, 23 RBI and a 1.267 OPS. We also saw Curtis Granderson and David Ortiz club 10 homers in the month while Matt Joyce hit .414. Adrian Gonzalez drove home 31 runs to go with his nine homers in the month, while Jose Reyes also starred (.364 average, nine doubles, six triples, 11 steals). Still, they all fell slightly short in our eyes to the emergence of Jay Bruce as a star.

The 24-year-old Reds right fielder has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his young career, but staying consistent has been a problem. In May, it wasn't. He led the majors with 12 home runs and 33 RBI, while also hitting .342 with a 1.140 OPS. He also led in total bases and tied for the lead in extra-base hits. Only Gonzalez, Reyes and Hunter Pence collected more total hits and only Granderson scored more runs in the month.

Click here to see last month's selections.

Batter of the Month
Danny Knobler Scott Miller
Jay Bruce Jay Bruce, Reds
When I saw Bruce last week in Philly, he told me he's looking for consistency. If he ever has six consistent months like this one, he'd hit 72 homers with 198 RBI. Bruce also believes he's become a better hitter. So do I. Remember, he just turned 24. When Adrian Gonzalez turned 24, he was in his first season as a big-league regular. Same with Joey Votto. This could well be the start of something big.
Jay Bruce Jay Bruce, Reds
We're watching a hitter mature right before our eyes. To actually put together a better month than Boston's Adrian Gonzalez is a spectacular month, but Bruce has shifted me away from Gonzo with his incredible production. Added bonus: He's scorching lefties, too.
Evan Brunell C. Trent Rosecrans
Matt Joyce Matt Joyce, Rays
Let's get one thing straight -- Joyce is no Jose Bautista, but he still had a fine month, ripping opposing pitchers for a .414 average and tacking on 14 extra-base hits. His emergence has hid the decline of Sam Fuld and been a major reason why the Rays are hanging around the top of the AL East. No other batter cracked the .400 mark in May.
Jay Bruce Jay Bruce, Reds
Not only did Bruce hit .342/.402/.739 this month, he also had 12 homers and 33 RBI. But it's not just the raw numbers. He came through when his team needed him the most (even if Cincy didn't always finish it off) with five hits during the month that tied games or gave the Reds the lead in the sixth inning or later -- the most in baseball in that category.
Matt Snyder Fantasy -- Al Melchior
Jay Bruce Jay Bruce, Reds
He's been good before in his career, but never this consistent or deadly. We knew the 2007 Minor League Player of the Year had the potential, and at age 24 he's showing its at the big-league level. With the Bruce power surge, the Reds now have two MVP-caliber players. 
Jay Bruce Jay Bruce, Reds
After a sluggish April, Bruce went on to lead all hitters in overall production in both Rotisserie and Head-to-Head Fantasy formats for the month of May. Not only did he bang a dozen homers, but Bruce was one of only two players to drive in more than 30 runs for the month.
Pitcher of the Month
Knobler Miller
Justin Verlander Justin Verlander, Tigers
May was a great month for pitchers, and the only way to decide was to think back to who had the most memorable games. Let's see, who threw his second career no-hitter? And who threw 7 2/3 shutout innings against an on-fire Red Sox team? Answer: Justin Verlander. I know, he also allowed six runs to the Rays, which kept his May ERA (2.62) from looking as flashy as Josh Beckett's 1.00. Two blown saves cost Beckett a 4-1 month. But he didn't throw a no-hitter.
Justin Verlander Justin Verlander, Tigers
I like horses. No, not Secretariat. Dominant workhorses. And while Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens had a great month, Verlander threw a no-hitter AND stuck around through 132 pitches the other night in knocking down Boston, one of the toughest lineups in the game. Six starts, 33 Ks and one hellacious WHIP.
Brunell Rosecrans
Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Kershaw doesn't have the lowest ERA of any starting pitcher in May, but he does check in at 1.77. What he holds over others is strikeouts, plus luck. Kershaw's 46 punchouts in May were big and he hasn't gotten away with as much as others have, evidenced by Kershaw's 2.57 xFIP in May.
J.J. Putz J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks entered May 6 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West and end it a half-game up on the defending World Series champs. One of the biggest reasons for the team's turnaround is the bullpen, led by closer J.J. Putz who had 11 saves and didn't allow an earned run all month.
Snyder Fantasy -- Scott White
Anibal Sanchez Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
Toss up between Jurrjens and Sanchez, but there's no wrong answer this month. I'm going with Sanchez because he stepped up with Josh Johnson down, going 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in six starts, averaging more than seven innings per start.
Anibal Sanchez Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
Sanchez's five-start stretch to end May was about as good as you'll ever see. He allowed no earned runs in three of those starts, pitching seven innings or more in all five. His 4-0 record, 1.66 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and strikeout per inning for the month were enough to make him the highest-scoring pitcher in Fantasy, even over Justin Verlander and his no-hitter.

Danny Knobler and Scott Miller are Senior MLB Writers; Evan Brunell, C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder are Eye on Baseball Bloggers; Al Melchior is a Fantasy Data Analyst; and Scott White is a Fantasy Writer.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Rays down another shortstop

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Elliot JohnsonWith Reid Brignac on the bereavement list, the last thing the Rays needed was an injury at shortstop. I bring this up, of course, because shortstop Elliot Johnson left Monday's game with left knee soreness.

The Rays moved Sean Rodriguez from second to short, moved Ben Zobrist from right field to second and Matt Joyce went into the game in right.

Johnson left the game in the sixth inning. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times wrote Johnson was hobbling since being thrown out trying to steal third in the fifth inning.

The team called up Felipe Lopez yesterday to take Brignac's place. Lopez was an All-Star shortstop in 2005. He started 19 games at shortstop last season for the Cardinals.

Brignac is expected back by Wednesday after the death of his grandfather.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 22, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: April 23, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Pepper: Dodgers leave Kershaw out to dry



By Matt Snyder


Seemingly lost in the shuffle of the Dodgers' extra-innings win over the Braves -- on another Matt Kemp walk-off bomb -- was how long Don Mattingly stuck with Clayton Kershaw in the ninth. I generally find that managers, especially early in the season, seem to err on the side of pulling starters early when they're throwing well. It was the complete opposite here.

Kershaw recorded two outs to begin the ninth, so he was just one out from a complete game victory. Chipper Jones singled. Dan Uggla singled but advanced to second on a throw to third base. So there are now runners on second and third in a one-run game. Kershaw had thrown 113 pitches and didn't look completely done, so I could see letting him face one more hitter.

Then he walked Freddie Freeman on six pitches. The bases were loaded, Kershaw was sitting at 119 pitches and finally -- during the Freeman at-bat -- seemed to be losing some bite on his pitches. Closer Jonathan Broxton was ready to enter. Instead, Kershaw was left in the game and allowed a two-RBI single to David Ross. So much for the lead, now the Dodgers trailed by one.

Look, it's tough to blame Mattingly for giving Kershaw some leeway. He's their best pitcher, Broxton hasn't been good and they were one out from victory. It just seemed like Kershaw was cooked and Mattingley refused to acknowledge it.

Of course, had Kershaw recorded an out we wouldn't even be talking about it. That's just the way things go in this game. It's really an illustration for how hard it is for managers to truly judge when to remove a pitcher. Think about it: had Mattingly removed Kershaw and seen Broxton lose the lead, what would we be saying?

BASEBALL TODAY: Ryan Braun is going to be in a Brewers uniform for a long time. Watch Danny Knobler discuss this and more with Lauren Shehadi on CBSSports.com's Baseball Today.



HEY, SITTING IN THE BULLPEN IS BORING: In a Class A-Advanced game Tuesday, members of the Clearwater Thrashers (a Phillies affiliate) bullpen came up with a game for fans peering over the edge. They simply put paper cups down and said if a fan tossed a quarter into the cup, he could win a prize. They had a cardboard sign up advertising the "promotion," even saying "we make change." The prize was a bat. No official word, but I'd guess the players keep the quarters that don't make it in a cup (hey, minor leaguers don't make much). You've gotta click through on this link and see the pictures -- in the last one you can see how many quarters are littered across the bullpen ground. (The X-Log )

HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT COMES TUMBLING DOWN: National Geographic is doing a show -- "Break it down" -- about the demolition of the old Yankee Stadium April 28 at 10 p.m. ET. After all the great games we've all seen there, it's going to be a bit surreal, no? (NatGeo )

PERFECTIONIST: Joey Votto had an RBI double in a 3-1 loss Wednesday night, but he was angry ... because he should have had a triple. “I stopped because runs were at premium. I was in scoring position. We had two outs to get the job done. It was a real in-between play. And I wish I had taken the chance. I left like there was a good shot I would have been safe.” And you made the correct decision, Joey. Quit beating yourself up for making the smart play. The reining NL MVP is crushing the ball again this year, but he needs to realize he can't single-handedly carry the team. (Cincinnati.com )

CAPTAIN JUNIOR: Ken Griffey Jr. followed in his father's footsteps in becoming a major league baseball player and now he's gone and done it again. Apparently, Griffey the elder is a pilot and now Junior is working on his pilot's license as well. Kudos to him. Is his flight path follows the same as his career path in baseball, he'll greatly exceed his father's abilities. Oh, and in case you're worried about Junior's well-being, his plane has a built-in parachute. (Geekwire )

THANK YOU, JOE: I've long hated the phrase "Hall of the Very Good" when people try to denigrate the Hall of Fame cases of players who they believe don't belong. It doesn't make sense because it's not the same medium. Hall of the Very Good would be secondary to the Hall of the Great or Hall of the Elite or Hall of the Exceptional. But Joe Posnanski finally up and did it, he created a "Hall of Not Famous Enough," peppered with players every bit as good as lower-level guys in the real Hall, just lacking some mainstream oomph on their names. Bobby Grich, Dwight Evans, Alan Trammell, Rick Reuschel and several others make the list. I hightly recommend at least a quick glimpse. (Joe Blog )

GO AHEAD AND SLEEP ON SEATTLE: The Mariners have some good, young arms like Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda. The offense, however, is pretty bad. We know that. Surprisingly, however, the defense actually measures worse at this point in the season. (Seattle Times )

LITTLE LEAGUE HOME RUN: In Jason Bay's first game of the 2011 season, he scored on his own plate appearance without recording a hit. Yep, he came around on a four-base error when Hunter Pence dropped a fly ball -- otherwise known as a "little league home run," for obvious reasons. It was the fourth in Mets history. (ESPN New York )

TEXEIRA DEMOTED: C'mon, not Mark. His last name is spelled Teixeira anyway. Just going with a trick subhead there, as the Royals have sent Kanekoa Texeira to Triple-A. (MLB.com )

SHORT AND SWEET: Matt Joyce is swinging a hot bat right now, and he attributes it to shortening up his swing. (TampaBay.com )

MAD MAICER: You wanna call Maicer Izturis fragile just because he's missed almost half the Angels' games in the past three seasons? You aren't going to endear yourself to him, that's for sure. "Those are ignorant people who say that," Izturis said. "They don't know the game. I could play 140 games at 90%, 80%. But that's not the way I play. I play 100%." It's interesting to note that later Izturis said something about how when Josh Hamilton gets hurt, people don't call him fragile. Um, they actually do. Quite a few people say that, actually. The broader point, however, is the guy doesn't like being called fragile and there's nothing wrong with that. Injuries happen during the course of 162 games. (LA Times )

IN THE SEATTLE AREA? The boys over at Sports and Food have a sports bar suggestion for you. Check it out. (Sports and Food )

ON THIS DATE: On April 22, 1970, Tom Seaver threw a complete game for the Mets against the Padres. He allowed only two hits, two walks and a run -- a solo homer by Al Ferrara. The game is noteworthy because Seaver struck out 19 hitters, which tied the major-league record at the time (held by Steve Carlton, along with a pair of guys from the 1880s). It has since been surpassed by Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens (twice). (Baseball-Reference.com )

MAKIN' IT RAIN: Angels fans threw money at Carl Crawford when he was on deck Thursday night. You might recall Crawford spurned the Angels in order to sign with Boston. (Big League Stew )

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 8:47 pm
 

Damon leaves game with finger injury

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Johnny Damon Rays outfielder Johnny Damon left Sunday's game with the Twins in the fifth inning, two innings after he was hit in the hand on a bunt attempt.

Damon has a bruised left ring finger and has been listed as day today. X-rays after the game showed no break, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
 
"It's very sore. It's really tough to squeeze anything right now," Damon said. "Hopefully, I'll be ready to go as soon as possible. That's about all we know right now until probably tomorrow... It's pretty bruised. I've got it up in a splint right now just so I can't bang it on anything. It's just a very unfortunate thing.

"I wanted to try to tough out the game but they thought it was best if I came in and started icing and try to get ready for tomorrow. At this point, I can't guarantee anything. Whether or not I'll be in there tomorrow or not. Time will tell. It's unfortunate our streak came to an end but hopefully we can start another one tomorrow."

He initially stayed in the game and delivered an RBI single on the next pitch to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead, but in the top of the fifth, he was replaced in left field by Matt Joyce.

Damon has been a catalyst for the Rays' recent turnaround, hitting .348/.375/.609 in the team's recent five-game winning streak, with two home runs. His RBI single stretched his hitting streak to nine games. Damon had just one hit in the team's first five games, all losses.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.  

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 15, 2011 5:59 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 10:41 pm
 

Maddon lets Tampa chamber of commerce make lineup

By Matt Snyder

Fans are always griping about how managers in the majors put together a batting order, so Rays manager Joe Maddon took it to the people for Friday night's game. He had an afternoon luncheon with the Tampa chamber of commerce and let the group make the lineup we'll see on the field against the Twins.

“I know how many times I’ve been criticized for my different lineups, so I thought I’d let the chamber of commerce luncheon people make our lineup,” Maddon said. (TBO.com )

His only rule was that Ben Zobrist and John Jaso were given the day off. From there, the Chamber made the lineup. Here's what they came up with:

1. Sam Fuld, LF
2. Johnny Damon, DH
3. Matt Joyce, RF
4. Felipe Lopez, 3B
5. B.J. Upton, CF
6. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
7. Dan Johnson, 1B
8. Kelly Shoppach, C
9. Reid Brignac, SS

Joyce looks to be the fan favorite, and Maddon noted as much.

“The third choice was the one that surprised me a little bit, though I think it’s a good choice tonight, that was Matt Joyce to hit third,” Maddon said. “His table was really loud, and so I thought based on the support he received from table, I think it was seven, that Matt belongs in the three-hole.”

Just another reason to love Maddon, who has long been a favorite in baseball circles.

UPDATE: The Rays won 5-2, Joyce collected three hits in four at-bats and Maddon thanked the chamber via Twitter -- also noting Joyce would be in the three-hole again Saturday.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 8, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 6:14 pm
 

What do Rays go sans Manny Ramirez?

Ramirez

By Evan Brunell

So how are the Rays going to move on from their short Manny Ramirez era?

Well, at least in the outset, Tampa Bay is calling up first baseman Casey Kotchman to be the starting first baseman while Dan Johnson will shift to DH. Kotchman was a former starting first baseman for the Angels and Braves before his career went into a tailspin with the Red Sox and Mariners.

He signed a minor-league contract with the Rays to open 2011 and reported to Triple-A despite putting up strong spring training numbers. The 28-year-old's best days are probably behind him, although Tampa will obviously cross their fingers and hope for the best. He is a solid fielder, so can help the Rays in that department.

However, Dan Johnson moving to DH is hardly inspired, even if it's the right move. Johnson has a few big hits with the Rays over the last few years, but struggles to crack the Mendoza Line and the jury is still out on whether he can be a viable starter. The Rays have really stretched themselves thin with Ramirez's retirement and certainly have to be thinking about out-of-organization alternatives. The team will likely give its in-house alternatives every chance to succeed, however, given the team's finances. But if Tampa stays solely in-house if its options aren't performing to par, it will be a mistake. While Tampa was thought to have been far behind the curve to make the postseason, Boston's 0-6 start to the season has really opened the door.

In the meantime, Kotchman and Johnson are the guys, but don't be surprised to see backup catcher Kelly Shoppach worked in at first base more regularly. Matt Joyce also stands to benefit from the retirement, and playing time should be much easier to come by for Sean Rodriguez once Evan Longoria returns from the disabled list.

The team also has a top outfield prospect in Desmond Jennings that they farmed out to Triple-A for additional seasoning. This move may cause the Rays to dip down and promote Jennings sooner rather than later.

Whether with or without Jennings, Ramirez's retirement could cause the Rays to move Johnny Damon out of left field, where he no longer belongs. Damon DHing would free the outfield up for either Joyce or Jennings.

Yes, the Rays are scrambling a bit to replace Ramirez. However, Ramirez looked as slow and old with Tampa as he did during his stint with the White Sox to finish out 2010. It really won't be that difficult to replace that Manny Ramirez, even if we all look at him as the home-run slugging behemoth that was feared for almost two decades.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: February 1, 2011 11:23 am
 

Red Sox G.M. says don't sleep on Rays

Theo Epstein The Red Sox had a "town hall" with fans last night on NESN, and there was a whole lot of Sox talk -- but one of the things I found interesting (or at least more interesting than the on-going Red Sox-Yankees banter) was general manager Theo Epstein's opinion on the Rays via the St. Petersburg Times):
"I think the demise of the Rays is greatly exaggerated. Even before those moves we never erased them at all from our radar. I think they’re uniquely positioned to lose some really good players and keep their status as one of the best teams in baseball, given the strength of their farm system and the players they have ready to step in. They lose [Matt] Garza, they have [Jeremy] Hellickson to step in. They lose [Carl] Crawford they have [Desmond] Jennings and [Matt] Joyce to step in. They're going to be real tough.''
I'm not sure the Rays are the class of the American League East, but it would be important to note that they're not going to revert to the Devil Rays just because Crawford is gone.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb   on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 8:18 pm
 

DH market still crowded

Vladimir Guerrero If there's a surplus of one position on the free agent market, it may be the designated hitter spot.

Jim Thome, one of last season's bargain pickups, is still unsigned, as are Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. And then there's the not-retired Jermaine Dye, Jason Giambi, Russell Branyan, Jose Guillen and Hank Blalock.

So far this offseason, the Red Sox exercised their option on David Ortiz, the Yankees have said they'll move Jorge Posada out from behind the plate, as will the Tigers with newly-signed Victor Martinez. Adam Dunn will be a first-time designated hitter with the White Sox.

As for teams with needs, that includes the team Thome DH'd for last season, the Twins, who would like him back. Of course, after putting up the year he did, he feels like he deserves a raise -- especially with his 600th career home run likely coming this season. The Rays, Angels and Rangers also have obvious needs, while the Orioles, Royals and Blue Jays could upgrade at the spot or stay put.

As it stands, here how the current AL DHs line up:
Orioles -- Luke Scott
Red Sox -- David Ortiz
Yankees -- Jorge Posada
Blue Jays -- Edwin Encarnacion
Rays -- Matt Joyce
White Sox -- Adam Dunn
Indians -- Travis Hafner
Tigers -- Victor Martinez
Royals -- Billy Butler
Twins -- Jason Kubel
Angels -- Mike Napoli
A's -- Hideki Matsui
Mariners -- Jack Cust
Rangers -- David Murphy

And here's who is left on the market (2010 AVG/OBP/SLG HR, RBI)
Jim Thome .283/.412/.627 25, 59
Vladimir Guerrero .300/.345/.496 29, 115
Manny Ramirez .298/.409/.510 16, 42
Johnny Damon .271/.355/.401 8, 51
Russell Branyan .237/.323/.487 25, 57
Jason Giambi .244/.378/.398 6, 35
Andruw Jones .230/.341/.486 19, 48
Hank Blalock .254/.319/.349 1, 7
Jose Guillen .258/.314/.416 16, 62
Jeremy Hermida .216/.268/351 6, 29
Troy Glaus .240/.344/.400 16, 71
Mike Sweeney .252/.321/.444 8, 26
Jorge Cantu .256/.304/.392 11, 56
Jermaine Dye (2009) .250/.340/.453 27, 81

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com