"He's very intense," one scout tells us. "He comes to the plate hacking; he just wants to hit."
And hit he has. In this, his Junior season, Joey led the Bulldogs in hits (110), and was second in both batting average (.352) and homers (13). Opposing teams do not want to see him at bat in clutch situations. Despite playing in a tough conference, he managed to hit .350 in Conference play. In four Regional round playoff games, Joey hit .455 with three homers and 12 RBI, earning him the Most Outstanding Player Award. Side continued to perform well in the Super Regionals, and he will lead Georgia in the College World Series beginning this weekend.
Side's intensity doesn't let up once he's swung the bat, either. "He's super aggressive after he hits the ball," describes our scout. "He's automatically thinking two, maybe even three, off the bat." This mindset helped him lead his team in doubles, with 19, and in triples, with seven. He's been able to achieve these numbers not so much from his speed, which is good, but not outstanding. Rather, Joey makes it on hustle.
Defensively, it's the same story. Side has made ESPN Web Gems for his defensive play ever since he was a Freshman in 2004.
"Very good on defense," the scout continues. "He has a good arm and covers a lot of ground. [Side] loves diving after balls; a big time hustler out there as well. He's got a motor running at all times."
In fact, Side often crashes into the outfield wall in his relentless pursuit of the ball. He missed about a week with a shoulder injury this year in one such instance. If you think his total numbers look good, you should have seen them before the injury.
This hard-nosed style of play has made Side a fan favorite at Georgia, and it's sure to do the same in Arizona. Side's a dying breed, a guy who plays baseball for the love of baseball, the thrill of competition, and the drive to be a winner. He makes a welcome addition to the Diamondbacks organization.
Read more from Keith Glab at www.baseballevolution.com