The Mariners tend to target pitchers with some deception, at least those destined to be relievers. Armed with a funky delivery and some glove side run, Jimmy Joyce fits the mold.
The team drafted Joyce in 2021 in the 16th round after an uneven career at Hofstra University. A solid senior season, teamed with a stellar performance at the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, propelled Joyce's draft stock. Joyce has been in the habit of jumping two levels each season, starting with his debut campaign in 2021.
The 24-year-old hurler offers a three-pitch mix with an attractive vertical attack angle that helps his stuff play up. His fastball velocity is only in the low 90s, but it has a ton of late-life up in the zone. Joyce's offspeed offerings (curve, changeup) are his best pitches. The changeup is a 50-grade pitch and a real weapon that helps him neutralize the lefthanded bats.
2023 was a breakout season for Joyce as he overcame a forearm strain and subsequently dominated the Northwest League while finishing the year with the Texas League North champs, Arkansas Travelers. While with the Travs, Joyce flashed his control over command approach, averaging a minuscule 2.93 walks per nine innings. He also performed well in high-leverage situations stranding 70% of the runners.
The stuff will never be front-of-the-rotation worthy, but Joyce's ability to control the zone and that filthy changeup could be his ticket to the big leagues as a swingman on a playoff-contending team.