Former Tennessee Vols RHP Ben Joyce made his pro debut on Saturday for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.

Joyce, who was drafted in the third round of the 2022 MLB Draft by the Angels last month, got his first pro strikeout with a nice offspeed pitch, but that was pretty much the only highlight of the night for the Volunteer Fireman.

Joyce pitched one inning and gave up two earned runs on four hits.

According to Daniel Garcia, who covers the Cade Cod League for Prospects Live, Joyce induced a lot of weak contact, but the results obviously weren’t what the former Vol wanted.

It shouldn’t come as a total surprise that Joyce struggled a bit. Starting in AA is going to be quite the challenge for Joyce. The talent in AA is significantly better than the talent in low A and High A (some have suggested that the jump from A to AA is the biggest jump for a minor leaguer). It’s going to take some time for Joyce to adjust to pitching against AA talent instead of college talent.

Joyce still has an incredibly high ceiling, but Saturday was a reminder that he still has a ways to go in his development as a pitcher.

Featured image via Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK