Nevin's latest comments could give this prospect a shot at an Opening Day spot

Tennessee's Ben Joyce (44) during the NCAA Baseball Tournament Knoxville Regional between the
Tennessee's Ben Joyce (44) during the NCAA Baseball Tournament Knoxville Regional between the / Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA

One of the most exciting prospects in the Los Angeles Angels system is Ben Joyce. The Angels' third-round pick of the 2022 MLB Draft is known for his ability to light up a radar gun. Joyce has hit 105 with his fastball and hits triple digits consistently.

He went straight from the draft to AA Rocket City which is rare for a player just drafted, but he excelled at that level. The fireballer made 13 appearances and posted a 2.08 ERA, allowing four runs (three earned) in 13 innings pitched. He struck out 20 batters (13.8 K/9) while walking just four (2.8 BB/9).

Despite his inexperience, Joyce has impressed in camp thus far, already hitting triple digits and has players like Andrew Velazquez saying he's already big-league ready. "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?"

Ben Joyce's first impressions combined with Phil Nevin's comments make him an Angels Opening Day roster possibility

Everyone is raving about Joyce in Angels camp right now. Max Stassi, the man who caught Joyce, sang his praises to Phil Nevin. The Halos manager said Joyce is in the mix to win a spot in the Angels bullpen according to Jeff Fletcher of OC Register.

The most telling quote of Fletcher's article came from the skipper of the Angels.

"We're going to take the best guys. 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 throw them right into the fire. And he's certainly a guy that's in that conversation"

Phil Nevin via Jeff Fletcher

These comments make me believe Ben Joyce has a very legitimate shot at an Opening Day bullpen spot. Despite just 13 professional innings pitched, he's really impressed in camp. His velocity is a game-changer and if he develops a secondary pitch or two, he can become a key member late in games very soon for the Angels.

Joyce would have to blow hitters away in the exhibition games to even have a chance, but it's good to see him in the discussion. The Angels bullpen with Joyce and Eric Torres could be in very good shape by mid-season.

Not many pitchers in baseball possess the upside Joyce does. It'll be exciting to watch him pitch in exhibition games, and hopefully he at least makes the conversation for a bullpen spot interesting.

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