Angels taking creative approach to save top prospect’s MLB trajectory

You won't believe how the Angels are trying to get Ben Joyce's command under control.

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Sometimes, it requires some real outside-the-box thing to get a player right. Not every player responds to coaching the same way, and differentiating advice and guidance on a case-by-case basis is how the best organizations are consistently successful. For the Los Angeles Angels, that has meant taking some extreme measures when it comes to developing top pitching prospect Ben Joyce.

There is no denying that Joyce has a special arm. While in college, he routinely hit triple digits with his fastball while topping out at 104 mph. There isn't really a way to teach that kind of velocity. The problem has been that Joyce has really struggled to command his special stuff. He walked nearly a batter an inning during his short stint in the big leagues in 2023, and his minor league numbers were not much better, even with all of the strikeouts.

This spring, Joyce's command issues persisted early on and the Angels' coaching staff, led by Ron Washington, decided that they needed to make a change to how Joyce prepared to take the mound. Recently, it was revealed that the Angels started putting Joyce through "chaos drills" to help him acclimate to the environment of a big league stadium and force him to focus on the task at hand.

Angels forcing Ben Joyce to deal with distractions on the mound already paying dividends

The idea behind these drills is pretty straightforward. Instead of throwing a normal bullpen that is insulated away from crowds, with little in the way of outside noise, Joyce has instead been subjected to blasted music and people yelling at him while he delivers his pitches/practices holding runners at first base. The goal is for the drills to simulate that game environment to the point where Joyce can still focus on hitting his spots and executing while under duress.

The early returns seem to be good, as Joyce's command and efficiency have been noticeably better than it was before starting the drills. In fact, the results have been so promising that Washington is considering using the tactic to help other pitchers on the Angels' roster, although exactly who could be up next has yet to be determined.

Regardless, it looks like whatever the Angels are doing is paying off. If Joyce can hone his command in just a bit without sacrificing too much of the velocity that got him drafted in the first place, he could very quickly become one of the top relief arms in baseball. If that means LA has to keep blasting "Who Let the Dogs Out" at max volume to get him to that point, so be it.

More LA Angels News from Halo Hangout