5 interesting facts and figures about Matt Joyce

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Matt Joyce had himself a day in the Phillies’ spring home opener Monday, homering and making a diving catch on a line shot in right field.

Joyce is a 36-year-old left-handed hitter looking to make the Phillies’ bench. He’s in camp as a non-roster invitee but has a good chance to be part of the Phils’ season-opening bench, along with Brad Miller, backup catcher Andrew Knapp and at least two of Adam Haseley/Scott Kingery/Roman Quinn.

Joyce has been around 13 seasons, including five with at least 450 plate appearances. The last three years, he’s been mostly a pinch-hitter.

Here are five interesting figures related to Joyce, who was a main topic on Tuesday's Phillies Talk podcast:

1. As a pinch-hitter, Joyce leads all active big-leaguers with 40 hits over the last five seasons. Phil Gosselin is fourth on that list with 36. 

2. With seven home runs as a pinch-hitter since 2016, Joyce is tied for the MLB lead among active players with Matt Adams and Jose Osuna. Joyce is the outright leader in total bases with 70. He’s had more opportunities than anyone else as a pinch-hitter over that span, 218.

3. He has an .818 OPS against right-handed pitching since 2016. This matters because he’ll be facing mostly right-handed pitchers as a Phillie. The three-batter rule for relievers in still in effect, forcing managers to use their relievers for at least three batters unless the inning ends first. 

Joyce has never hit lefties, but ideally, he’ll barely face them here. Over the last two seasons, 89% of Joyce’s plate appearances have come against righties. The Phillies would be wise to continue that trend.

4. He’s hit .308 with a .415 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position the last two seasons.

5. Random, but: Joyce is the only active major-leaguer with at least five combined home runs against Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the regular season. He's hit those two well. Could be completely meaningless, but if your job is to hit righties, success against the two best of the decade doesn't hurt the resume.

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