That's right—move over Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. There is a new newbie in town.
Matt Joyce, the kid out of Florida Southern, who's first performance in the Majors was only 17 days ago is taking not only Detroit by storm, but also the MLB.
When he was called up, many believed it to be the wrong choice—people not really knowing who he was didn't really help.
With the Jacque Jones experiment not working and doctors saying that Sheffield wouldn't be able to perform in LF consistently with his injury, the Tigers turned to youth for the first time all season. Being called up to the Majors at the age of 23, Matt Joyce has performed like he has been there for years.
Maybe it was the idea that when there was a problem all season and off season, they went and found someone that had a "track record." Or that there just isn't anyone that young on the Tigers' starting line up right now. Or with the Tigers' season seeming to spiral out of control. Whatever the reason was, they felt the need for a spark and were going to take a gamble on a young player who had shown that he wants to play in the MLB and was going to work hard for it.
Whatever it was the Tigers found their man, and it has paid off!
Since his first Major League performance on May 5th, Matt Joyce has hit five home runs. That's more then Edgar Renteria, Carlos Guillen, Gerry Sheffield, Placido Polanco, and Pudge—who are all consistent starters.
He is also only two home runs off away from the team leaders, Miguel Cabrera and Maglio.
Not only that, but he is starting to solidify himself as a strong left fielder—the only position in the Tigers lineup that was considered to be weak at the beginning of the season.
This may sound all fine to you and not even that amazing, but let's consider the fact that Matt Joyce has eight RBI, five HRs, and has scored another eight times. Not the greatest line if you were looking right at it, but the fact is—Matt Joyce has only played in 13 games.
Maglio and Miguel have seven home runs and have played in 47 games.
He is batting .278 and has on OBP of .357 which, for a rookie who has been in the Big Leagues a total of two weeks, is outstanding.
And let's not forget the fact that at the beginning of the season the Tigers were hard pressed to find more then 2 batters over .200.
Matt Joyce might have slipped into the big leagues, but he won't slip past anyone else. If he continues to be consistent, he will get some serious recognition for the Rookie of the Year, and he will find himself in the starting lineup for the Tigers for a long time.
It's too early to say if the Tigers have struck gold, but as of this moment Matt Joyce looks like the real thing.