The Angels already employ two of the most impressive players in baseball: Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Now they’ve added another.
Ben Joyce was taken in the third round of last year’s MLB draft after lighting up radar guns in his lone season at Tennessee. Last May, he threw the hardest pitch in NCAA history, a fastball that was clocked at a blazing 105.5 mph. He zipped through the Angels’ minor league system and made his MLB debut on May 29.
All he’s done since then is throw absolute heat on a remarkably consistent basis.
Joyce picked up his first MLB win on Wednesday night against the Cubs, working a scoreless sixth inning in which he threw 27 pitches. Twenty of them were 100 mph or faster. One was 102.8 mph and another was cool 103.0. Here’s what that looks like.
A couple of Ben Joyce 103mph Fastballs. ⛽️⛽️ pic.twitter.com/2mOj6hlHQr— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 8, 2023
Those pitches had MLB fans in awe:
That’s just silly. Start swinging as soon as he gets set. https://t.co/b1CYqQMB78— Twiiitter is Musked (@rwe123) June 8, 2023
103 mph from 60 feet and 6 inches.... Absolutely ridiculous lol. Almost impossible. 🔥⛽💨— Coach DJ Johnson ⚾️🏀 (@DabiasQJ_05) June 8, 2023
Hitting is hard! https://t.co/6e6YPqbMuq
making contact on a ball traveling that speed, with that run, from that distance, is legit insane— AWLSabermetrics (@awlsabermetrics) June 8, 2023
i know generally ppl understand hitting is hard, but something as silly as a foul ball here shows the truly unbelievable power of your brain and body, bc this should not be possible https://t.co/dk54qH8lAc
When will it be my turn to have an insane young pitcher like this— Will (@JFKAlexCora) June 8, 2023
Joyce has thrown 73 fastballs this season and 68 of them have been at least 100 mph. He’s thrown 80 total pitches this season and 85% of them have been clocked at triple digits. His slowest fastball of the season was a mere 99.2 mph.
Joyce’s first four outings of the season have already made him one of the most prolific fireballers in Angels franchise history. Since MLB began tracking pitch velocity with the PITCHf/x system in 2008, only two Angels pitchers have thrown more triple-digit fastballs than Joyce. Jordan Walden threw 136 pitches of at least 100 mph in 114 2/3 innings between the ’10 and ’12 seasons. Ohtani has thrown 70 such pitches in 420 2/3 innings. Joyce has thrown 68 in four innings.
But wait, there’s more. Joyce has thrown 57 pitches at 101 mph or faster. Walden only had 19 pitches that fast and Ohtani has had 11. Joyce has also thrown 27 pitches at least 102 mph. Walden had one. Ohtani has none.
Most 101+ MPH pitches by Angels pitchers— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) June 8, 2023
(in the entire pitch tracking era):
Ben Joyce, 57 🔥🔥🔥
Jordan Walden, 19
Shohei Ohtani, 11
Ervin Santana, 2
JC Ramirez, 1
Ben Joyce has thrown only 80 big league pitches. 😮 https://t.co/6jA7UjWrZk
The rookie is also among MLB’s most consistent flamethrowers this season. Only two pitchers have eclipsed 101 mph on the radar gun more often than Joyce. He has 57 such pitches this season (71.3% of his total pitches), while the Twins’ Jhoan Durán has 108 (30.7% of all his pitches) and the Cardinals’ Jordan Hicks has 153 (32.8% of all his pitches).
Joyce can be wild at times—he walked three batters in his one inning of work on Wednesday night and walked 13 in 15 2/3 innings at Double A this season—but as long as he maintains his control, he’s going to give big league hitters fits.