Mets Draft Watch: Ben Joyce could make a future closer role

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The red-hot New York Mets are seven weeks away from the 2022 Major League Baseball Amateur draft, and the scouting season is hot and exciting as we inch closer towards it. This year, the Mets could have an opportunity to select key pitching for the future.

Every day from now, onward, college baseball seasons for many schools have come to an end, as college baseball playoffs are in full swing. This means prospects and agents are gearing up at the dinner table to get serious about the future.  Scouts are busy submitting final reports and recommendations, while keeping track of playoff season. The New York Mets have 2-first round draft picks this year, in compensation for last year.

In a previous article, I mentioned 3 prospect pitchers that the Mets should consider in the draft. These 3 pitcher’s fit the organizational needs of pitching in the farm system, ideally in a projected starting-pitcher role.  However, have we thought about drafting a potential closer? The Mets current closer, Edwin Diaz is having a solid season, with 11 saves and 2 wins on the belt so far. He’s signed through 2022, and is a free agent in 2023. There is obvious optimism that Diaz will be extended and return to the club, but for how long? While considering the longevity of the closer roles, and difficulty in finding the right guy, does it make sense to draft and shape one up? If so, what names fit that type of selection? His name is Ben Joyce.

Should the Mets Draft Ben Joyce?

Ben Joyce is a red-shirt junior, right-handed pitcher out if the University of Tennessee. He’s 6’5”, scaling 225lbs. Ben started at Walters State Community College in 2019.  In October of 2022, he suffered an elbow injury and did not pitch at all in 2021. 2022 is where the eye-lids of scouts peeled wide opened. Joyce was averaging 101mph on his fastball, where topping at a record 105.5 in a game against Auburn. Joyce is a tall, athletic body-type righty with a well repeated delivery, and a semi-sling shot delivery. Aside from a fastball being his out-pitch, he also delivers a 83-85mph slider which causes consistent chase, along with a 10mph drop from  his fastball, for a change-up sitting 89-90mph.

So, is this a kid the New York Mets take a chance on? I am leaning more towards yes, however, there are factors on each side. The most dawning note is that Joyce missed majority of 2018-2019, had a short COVID stint in 2022, and was sidelined all of 2021.  He went under the knife for Tommy John, and has come out a velocity-king. Currently, Joyce has a 2-1 record with Tennessee, with a 2.51 ERA, 47 strikeouts, and only 11 walks within 28.2 innings. 

These numbers are decently impressive so far. Although he has not had a full season showing to evaluate, the radar gun, strikeout rate, and rapsodo says enough. This is a guy that can assist the Mets farm system, and climb the ranks quickly, if healthy. Joyce may be a starter now, however, his long-term role, based off of his electric fastball, and simple-effective repertoire, will be a late game reliever; specifically, a closer.

Even this kid’s delivery and demeanor screams closer role! His current role with Tennessee may allow him to jump into set up scenarios, and longer-term relief roles as well. Joyce is currently ranked 116th on the top 200 MLB prospect draft list. This is a player that can offer great long-term hope for the New York Mets.

Next. 3 Cubs players the Mets should already be scouting. dark