It's already been a season of firsts for Tigers rookie Matt Joyce. After playing his first Major League game on May 5, he's endured some adversity in becoming a consistent addition to the Tigers lineup as they contend for the Central Division crown. And Monday, Joyce added the Bank of America American League Player of the Week award to his list of accomplishments during his initial season in the big leagues.
The outfielder bagged the honor by going 9-for-22 (.409) with four homers, four doubles and six RBIs en route to posting a 1.136 slugging percentage from July 7-13. Three of the homers came during a four-game series from Thursday-Sunday against the Twins. "I like him a lot," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said Saturday. "He's a real good prospect." Joyce has endured a topsy-turvy first season, being sent to Triple-A Toledo at the end of May before coming back up to the big club on June 29 after Magglio Ordonez went on the disabled list. Joyce's success at the plate during this second opportunity has made the Tigers glad they gave their young prospect another shot. His production this past week raised his season average to .266. He now has nine homers, 18 RBIs, seven doubles and a .649 slugging percentage this season. His average rose 47 points, from .219 at the beginning of the week, and his slugging percentage rose a whopping 156 points. Joyce is hitting .325 in July with six doubles, and his offensive prowess helped lead the Tigers to a series-finale win against the Twins on Sunday to avoid a sweep at home. With the award, Joyce headed into his first All-Star break with some new hardware to add to his trophy case as he gets himself ready for what figures to be an entertaining second half of the season. He and his Tigers sit at 47-47, seven games behind the division-leading White Sox.
Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.