Angels Prospect Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles

Feb. 12, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA: Los Angeles Angels pitchers throw in the bullpen during spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb. 12, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA: Los Angeles Angels pitchers throw in the bullpen during spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Angels prospect Zach Joyce, 23, saw his professional career get off to a promising start last season. In 11 games with the Class-A Inland Empire 66ers, the right-handed pitcher allowed nine hits and three earned runs while striking out nine batters.

The former 14th-round draft pick — and twin brother of Angels prospect Ben Joyce — has been on the injured list this season due to arm soreness he experienced after being assigned to Inland Empire to start the season. That hasn't kept him from being active in the San Bernardino community, however:

More recently, Joyce took to social media to share his thoughts about his personal mental health journey. As has been well-documented, Joyce stepped away from baseball during the 2020 NCAA season after being diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Joyce recently used his platform to let others in his position know they're not alone.

"With May being mental health awareness month, I always will find it important to share my story hoping that it may help someone going through the same thing," Joyce wrote on his Twitter/X account. "I had to step away from the game of baseball my junior year of college after being diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. I fell into some bad habits to try and fix it and I pushed a lot of people away because I felt like it was the best thing to do. I have learned that there is no "temporary fix" and it is so important to lean on people close to you. Getting help is a daunting task but it is so important for not only yourself but for the people that care about you. I still struggle with these issues at times, but the fact that I have opened up about it has helped me more than I could ever put into words. I want to encourage anyone going through something like this to know that you aren't alone and it does get better."

While Joyce's story in professional baseball is still just beginning, his mental health journey had a happy ending. In April 2022, he recommitted himself to playing baseball — a journey that led to him to being drafted by the Angels and rejoining his brother in the professional ranks.

When Joyce is on the mound, stepping into the box against him is a tall task for hitters. When he returns to health, he'll look to rejoin his brother as one of the Angels' top pitching prospects.


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J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. HOORNSTRA

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for Halos Today, and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors.