The Los Angeles Angels have leaned on their 22-year-old shortstop Zach Neto more than originally planned, including his work through multiple injury stints this season.
Sidelined by an oblique strain, lower back inflammation, and the lingering effects that come from both of those, have limited his ability to play this year. Neto’s spurts of play haven’t been overly impressive in terms of pure statistics.
He’s logged just two hits in 31 plate appearances since his activation off the injured list on Sept. 10. That lack of production might give the team some pause, but Neto has earned a great deal of praise from his Angels teammates, including from fellow rookie Logan O’Hoppe, per Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“He’s the man,” O’Hoppe said of Neto. “I love sharing a locker room with that guy, hanging out with him off the field. I’m really hoping to be playing with him for quite a while. It’s pretty impressive what he’s doing. He wants to win. And I love that about him.”
The tandem will be in lockstep for years to come, and fans should get accustomed to. Neto and O’Hoppe have overcome their own hurdles, finding their way back to the field.
The Angels front office has maintained their confidence in what they have planned for them, because they’ll need some franchise guys if Mike Trout isn’t around longer than his contract runs.
Zach Neto & Logan O’Hoppe becoming leaders in Angels clubhouse
The Opening Day catcher and shortstop made quick work of the Angels farm system to make highly anticipated debuts all the way back in the spring.
Injuries have also limited Neto to 74 games this season, but in conjunction with veterans on the team, including Mike Moustakas, he believes the two rookies will grow into leaders.
Angels manager Phil Nevin sees those qualities in O’Hoppe, going was far to say the franchise is lucky to have a player like him.
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