Angels News: Zach Neto Named Among League’s Top Rookies
MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels
May 5, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop Zach Neto (9) scores 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 were good to their young players this season in terms of playing time, requiring a number of rookies and prospects to log time in Major League Baseball well ahead of initial projections.

An underperforming Major League roster pushed general manager Perry Minasian to carry rookie catcher Logan O’Hoppe with the team out of Spring Training. Fortunately, he recovered from an early season injury to make waves down the stretch which bodes well for years ahead.

The Angels made another surprise move, in calling up 2022 first round selection in Zach Neto after seven games in Double-A. He would become a mini spark plug for manager Phil Nevin, and aside from injury woes, he provided some stability up the middle when healthy.

His .225/.308/.377 slash was a far cry from the extra-base potential he possesses, but for future production, his performance was notable among the league’s top rookies, via Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report:

Neto is No. 46, Logan O’Hoppe is an honorable mention.

Neto was a plus defender according to defensive metrics, and being just 22 years old, he’ll eventually settle into an everyday role in MLB.

The Angels hope, with more reps, he’ll unlock the gap-to-gap stroke that made him a top pick at 13th overall.

Outlook for rest of Angels prospect pool

With O’Hoppe graduating from prospect status this season, the Angels overall outlook hinges on their ability to have enough player development tools to boost their Minor League system.

Because Angels owner Arte Moreno has a staunch stance towards building the Major League roster from within their own ranks, they’ll have to shift to a methodology that’s more sustainable.

The Angels got a taste of what first baseman Nolan Schanuel(No. 1) and Ben Joyce(No. 7) bring to the table, but the vast majority of their top-25 prospects statistically underperformed expectations outside of 18-year-old Dario
Laverde. The organization was excited to bring him in through the 2022 international signing pool, and he’s excelled through stints in the DSL and with the Inland Empire 66ers.

In 43 games, Laverde posted a .306/.419/.455 slash with 32 RBI and 28 walks.

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