Phil Nevin: Zach Neto ‘Forced’ Angels’ Hand To Promote Him
MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
Mar 5, 2023; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels infielder Zach Neto (94) bats against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for a spark, the Los Angeles Angels selected the contract of top prospect Zach Neto ahead of their matchup against the Boston Red Sox on April 15.

David Fletcher was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, and Chris Rodriguez was transferred to the 60-day injured list as the corresponding moves.

Neto was selected by the Angels out of Campbell University with the 13th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft and quickly rose through the system. He hit a stellar .444/.559/.815 with three home runs and 10 RBI in seven games with Double-A Rocket City before his promotion.

Angels manager Phil Nevin said the 22-year-old’s torrid start essentially gave the team no choice but to call him up to the Majors, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:

“Basically he forced our hand,” Nevin said. “This spring we saw a lot of great things. Obviously, the Freeway Series was sort of an eye-opener in that atmosphere to do what he did, and what he continued to do his first couple weeks in Double-A, we just felt it was the right time.”

Neto will serve as the primary shortstop for the Angels, and Nevin praised his ability to make good plays all over the infield:

“He’s flashy out there a little bit, rangy,” Nevin said. “He’s going to make some really good plays. Like I told you with (rookie catcher Logan O’Hoppe), there’s going to be some growing pains and we understand that, but mentally is what’s most important. I feel like he’s ready to come now.”

Neto did not expect to get promoted to the Angels until later in the season but nevertheless is excited for the opportunity to contribute:

“I honestly thought it would be a little later in the year, maybe a September call-up or after the All-Star Game,” Neto said. “I’m just excited to be here to help the team win, do anything I can to keep this ball club going up and push for a playoff spot.”

Nevin made his MLB debut on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox and went hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts. He was back in the lineup the following day and did not record a hit in four plate appearances.

Zach Neto valued time with Angels in Spring Training

Neto was with the Angels in Spring Training as a non-roster invitee and didn’t find much success at the plate, but enjoyed being with the team and believes it helped him get acclimated to the Majors.

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