The Los Angeles Angels have been extremely aggressive with their prospects this season, and Ben Joyce is no exception to that. The right-hander was selected in the third round of the 2022 MLB Draft.
He had a legitimate shot at making the team out of Spring Training, but lost out on a spot to Andrew Wantz. Joyce still did earn the call just one year after being drafted, earning a call-up in late May. It wasn't quite as fast as Nolan Schanuel, but it was pretty darn close.
He pitched well in his first five appearances before landing on the IL due to right ulnar neuritis. He missed three months on the sidelines, but made his return to the majors in September and has been dominant out of the bullpen. He's worked his way already into being a key piece to the 2024 Angels bullpen.
Ben Joyce will play a huge role for the 2024 LA Angels
Since returning from his IL stint, Joyce has been nothing short of dominant. He's made four appearances and has completed four hitless innings with four strikeouts. Walks remain a concern as he's issued three free passes in those four innings, but for the most part, when he locates, Joyce has been excellent.
Despite walking two batters in this outing against the Rays, Joyce did a great job mixing in his slider and elevating his high-velocity fastball. When he has command of his slider, like he did with the first strikeout in that Pitching Ninja clip, Joyce is virtually impossible to hit.
Joyce should find himself beginning next season as one of the Angels primary set-up men. Whether that's for the struggling Carlos Estevez or not remains to be seen, but Joyce should get a ton of work in the seventh and eighth innings of close games and could maybe even eventually settle into the closer's role.
The one thing Joyce needs to figure out, outside of command, is a way for him to work back-to-back days. That's something he's never done and will have to do at some point. For now, we can marvel at the stuff he possesses and be excited about the role he will play for the 2024 Angels out of the bullpen.