Angels News: Ben Joyce Making A Big Impression In Spring Training
MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Angels Photo Day
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have been in desperate need of impact arms, both in the starting rotation and the bullpen, for the past few seasons.

The additions of Tyler Anderson and numerous young starters have provided hope, but third-round draft pick Ben Joyce has lit up the radar gun early in camp and made a strong impression as well.

Joyce made a name for himself at the University of Tennessee, featuring an 80-grade fastball with a powerful 6-foot-5 body. The 22-year-old then made his Minor League debut at Double-A with the Rocket City Trash Pandas, posting a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings pitched.

His top-end fastball carried him most of the way, and with a little help from an average secondary changeup, he notched 20 strikeouts in his short time in the minors last season. Early in spring camp, Joyce faced big league hitters, including Andrew Velazquez, who had some glowing words for the young righty, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:

“He’s ready for The Show right now,” Velazquez said Tuesday morning. “That’s some of the nastiest stuff you’re going to see. Not only that, but he knows where it’s going, knows how to use it.

“He’s throwing 100 in his first live (batting practice). What does that tell you? What would he do in a big-league stadium to close out a game, or in a big inning?”

Joyce had moments at Tennessee that went viral, including one instance that his fastball was clocked at 105mph. With his big arm in camp, the Angels are taking notes of everything he has to offer:

“Yesterday was pretty electric,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Joyce’s live BP. “Not sure he threw a fastball under 100. And he was locating. We moved him in and out and he hit the glove. (Catcher Max Stassi) came back raving about him.”

Joyce has the potential to pitch in Major League Baseball right away because of his pure stuff, but the best plan is to let him learn as much as he can and work on his arsenal as a whole. He noted that this time has already been valuable to him and his approach to pitching:

“I feel like I’m learning something new every day,” he said. “I’m talking to analytical guys every chance I get. Just trying to get any edge I can. It’s a lot of information. And I’m here to take it all in.”

Nevin and general manager Perry Minasian have been searching for a new set closer, using Jimmy Herget last season and signing right-hander Carlos Estévez this offseason, the likely candidate for the job, but Joyce could see time there in the near future if he continues to develop.

Angels manager Phil Nevin is happy with offseaon

The Angels most notably bolstered their pitching staff with the signings of Anderson in the rotation, relievers Estévez and Matt Moore, and upgraded their lineup and defense with the addition of Brandon Drury, Brett Phillips, Hunter Renfroe and Gio Urshela.

The aforementioned names join a talented group that already includes the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout, as well as up-and-comers Reid Detmers, Patrick Sandoval and Taylor Ward, among others.

Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!

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