Angels' twin picks: Zach Joyce drafted by Halos, his brother Ben's team

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Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The Los Angeles Angels drafted one of the Joyce brothers in 2022. They grabbed the other one on Tuesday.

The Angels selected Zach Joyce in the 14th round after they took his twin brother, Ben, in the third round of last year's amateur draft. Zach Joyce helped the University of Tennessee reach the College World Series this season, going 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 10 innings over 13 appearances.

"The story of it being with Ben and being his brother is great, but this was a guy that regardless of any connection to the Angels, I was targeting him as a guy that could help us for sure," said Tim McIlvaine, the director of amateur scouting for the Angels. "The story now with Ben, too, could be awesome at some point as well, but for sure, he's a really talented kid."

Ben Joyce, 22, also starred at Tennessee before he was drafted by Los Angeles. The hard-throwing right-hander made his big league debut on May 29. He went 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in five relief appearances before he was placed on the 15-day injured list with ulnar neuritis in his right arm.

Zach Joyce, who is four minutes younger than Ben, had Tommy John surgery in January 2020. The 6-foot-4 right-hander also stepped away from the game because of clinical depression and anxiety before returning this season with the Volunteers.

"I saw him this fall at Tennessee and he looked great," McIlvaine said. "He was throwing the ball really well. He was spinning the ball really well, and the velocity started climbing back up."

There were lots of family ties on the final day of the draft, which included rounds 11-20.

Kansas City selected Stone Russell in the 18th round. The 19-year-old catcher is the son of former major league player and manager John Russell.


DJ Uiagalelei, the former starting quarterback at Clemson Tigers who's now at Oregon State Beavers, was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 20th round (No. 610 overall) of the draft.

Uiagalelei was a pitcher in high school and has not played the sport competitively since then, instead focusing on football. The Dodgers listed Uiagalelei as a two-way player.

Uiagalelei, 22, spent the first three years of his college career at Clemson after being rated a five-star quarterback prospect in high school. He backed up Trevor Lawrence in 2020, showed promise in two starts while Lawrence was in COVID-19 protocol and took over the starting job in 2021.

Uiagalelei has thrown for 5,681 yards, 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions with a 59.8 percent completion rate in his three college seasons.


The University of Louisville has become a bit of a catcher factory for the majors. Will Smith of the Dodgersand Henry Davis of the Pittsburgh Pirates are in the big leagues, and Dalton Rushing is one of the Dodgers' top prospects.

It looks like there is another Louisville catcher on the way.

Jack Payton was selected by San Francisco in the 11th round with pick No. 330 overall. The 21-year-old Payton hit .374 with 12 homers and 41 RBI in 48 games in his third season with the Cardinals. His older brother, Mark, appeared in a total of 40 major league games with two teams over the past three seasons.


Mathias LaCombe became the second France native to go in the amateur draft when he was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 12th round. The right-hander joins Joris Bert, who was picked by the Dodgers in the 19th round in 2007.

The 21-year-old LaCombe, who is from Pineuilh, France, played for Cochise College in Arizona this season. He went 5-3 with two saves and a 1.74 ERA in 19 appearances, including eight starts.

LaCombe made one appearance for France in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers last year, allowing one run and three hits in one inning during a 14-4 loss to Britain.

"We're talking about a guy who is 93 to 95 with a real breaking ball, and there's mechanical things that he knows we're going to make better in his delivery," said Mike Shirley, the director of amateur scouting for the White Sox.


The Pittsburgh Pirates are hoping Charles McAdoo can add a World Series title to his family's list of NBA championships.

McAdoo, a second baseman from San Jose State, was drafted by Pittsburgh in the 13th round at No. 377 overall. McAdoo's cousin, Bob, won two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers during his Hall of Fame career. James Michael McAdoo, another cousin, won a pair of championships with the Golden State Warriors.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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