There wasn’t a lot of buzz around the University of San Francisco’s Joey Steele in the lead up to the Major League Amateur Entry Draft of 2019.
Joey Steele is a 6’2″, 195 lb. right-handed pitcher out of USF. Born on November 15th, 1995, he’s the second oldest player chosen by the Miami Marlins on that day, a week younger than 20th round catcher Thomas Rowan and a week older than ninth round pitcher Evan Brabrand.
On a related note, Rowan was ranked the 187th best prospect in the draft, but lasted until the 591st overall selection. Brabrand is also having a solid first season with the Batavia Muckdogs, with 18 strikeouts and a 2.03 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.
But back to Steele.
In Steele’s 12 appearances with the short-season-A Muckdogs, he’s limited the opposition to a .256/.268/.282 slash line, surrendering only one extra base hit (a double) and striking out 18 batters. He’s particularly stingy against fellow right-handers, allowing four hits in 23 plate appearances.
"Steele recorded 11 saves for the Dons in 2019 while striking out 54 batters in 35 innings. He also walked just 13, and though his ERA was an unsightly 5.91 for the year, it was buoyed by three especially rough outings, one of which came at Stanford — against a team that’s headed to the Super Regionals this week — and another came at elevation against BYU."
Regardless, Steele has allowed one or fewer hits in 10 of his 12 outings for the Dogs, and only two each in those other two games. In the best performance of the lot, Steele struck out the side in a perfect eighth inning of a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats on August 1st. His 0.36 FIP and 0.71xFIP says that his success is not a fluke, albeit in a small sample size according to FanGraphs.
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Steele’s not highly regarded by any prospect aggregator organization, so his name may not be familiar to more casual Miami Marlins fans. Despite that, he’s off to a good start to his professional career. If his trajectory remains such as it is, look for him to challenge for a bullpen spot around mid-2022.
Haven’t heard of Steele? You’re not alone. If his debut is any indicator, maybe you’ll hear more about him in the future.
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