One area that general manager Perry Minasian aimed to improve upon in the offseason was in the bullpen, but a third-round draft pick this past season could be a surprise addition to the Los Angeles Angels.
Spring Training has a few weeks left in it, but flamethrowing right-hander Ben Joyce has made the most of his four innings spread out over four appearances without allowing a run. The Angels banked on his immense upside while at the University of Tennessee with Joyce lighting up the radar gun with a fastball that can sit 102 mph.
A bullpen that consists of Carlos Estévez, Jimmy Herget, Ryan Tepera, Matt Moore, and Aaron Loup as the main options for 2023 could use Joyce with his game-breaking velocity, and manager Phil Nevin hinted at it, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
Nevin then added – unsolicited – that Joyce is in the mix to win a spot in the Angels’ bullpen right now.
“We’re going to take the best guys,” Nevin said. “We showed that last year. We were still in the hunt when we brought up (Chase) Silseth to make some starts. I’ve made that message clear to a lot of these guys that were either drafted last year the year before. We’re not afraid to bring somebody young and throw them right into the fire. And he’s certainly a guy that’s in that conversation.”
There’s still work to be done with his secondary stuff, but last season in the Minor Leagues with the Rocket City Trash Pandas he notched 20 punchouts in 13 innings while surrendering just four walks.
Nevin speaking highly of Joyce bodes well for the 22-year-old looking to make an impact in MLB, possibly without requiring time in Triple-A.
Max Stassi believes new catching stance will help him with Angels in 2023
Among Angels players looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season is Max Stassi, who endured one of the worst offensive showings of his career.
Stassi at one point was mired in a 4-for-72 slump and finished the year with a .180/.267/.303 slash and 112 strikeouts across 102 games. He believes he found a possible solution by dropping his traditional catching stance in favor of a one-knee-down stance.
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