Angels News: Ron Washington Sees ‘Sharp’ Abilities Of Zach Neto
MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels
May 5, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop Zach Neto (9) celebrates after scoring a run off a wild pitch by Texas Rangers relief pitcher Josh Sborz (66) during the tenth inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels are entering a new era in 2024. Ron Washington has come in to replace player-favorite manager Phil Nevin. And with Shohei Ohtani moving up the I-5 to the L.A. Dodgers, the Halos are focused on building around Mike Trout and a host of promising young talent. The cornerstones of this group are catcher Logan O’Hoppe and shortstop Zach Neto.

Neto was one of the first meteoric risers through the Angels farm system, making his debut on April 15 of last season after being taken 13th overall in the 2022 First-Year Player Draft. He played 84 games with the Angels in 2023, posting a .685 OPS with nine homers and 17 doubles. He had a 1.6 bWAR, translating to a three-win player in a 162-game season. While the numbers themselves don’t stand out, he was widely praised for his leadership in the clubhouse at only 22 years of age and his defensive metrics stood out — three defensive runs saved via Baseball Reference.

So it’s fitting that two of the first players to receive praise from Washington at 2024 Spring Training are O’Hoppe and Neto. On Thursday, Washington had plenty of positive things to say about O’Hoppe and his work early in the spring. He continued the trend with Neto, via Rhett Bollinger of

“I’m still learning him,” Washington said. “I do see he has some ability to apply. And he’s not someone who is in A-ball, where you give him something and it takes a few minutes. If you give him something, he applies it. That means he’s well-bred because this will be his first full year in the Majors. He’s very sharp, and he hears things and applies things.”

Neto still has a long way to go before he becomes the player the Angels believe he can be. However, there is perhaps no one better for him to learn under than Washington. He explained why on Thursday.

“He’s the guru of the infield, so who wouldn’t want to learn from somebody like that?” Neto said. “I have an open mind, and I’m listening to everything. I’m just excited to get to work.”

Washington’s early impression of the Angels’ potential cornerstones could certainly be a sign of good things to come. If the Angels are going to be ahead of schedule in their retooling, it will be because Neto and O’Hoppe took second-year leaps.

Neto, in particular, has a chance to be an infield leader with Nolan Schanuel at the other corner and some uncertainty at third and second base. Washington will undoubtedly be monitoring his progress every step of the way.

Arte Moreno has no plans to sell Angels

Angels owner Arte Moreno has teased selling the team multiple times over the past few years, only to take the team off the market and continue working at the helm of the organization. He spoke about all of the back and forth and reiterated his commitment to the franchise.

“I am here long term,” Moreno said in an interview with the Southern California News Group. “There are some people that came back and some people that knew I had it on the market (in 2022). I basically said it’s not on the market.”

Moreno added that it was always possible that someone would come back and make an offer that he couldn’t refuse.

“I’m a business person,” he said. “If someone gets really stupid, then you have to go.”

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