Let's call it what it is - the Angels rushed Zach Neto to the major leagues. While Neto was regarded as an advanced college hitter, Los Angeles had no business accelerating his development because the front office, ownership, or whoever was attempting to capitalize on Shohei Ohtani's last season in an Angels uniform.
Neto played just 23 minor league games before getting called up to the big leagues. But in those games, Neto showed tremendous potential with 14.1% walk-rate and 1.157 OPS. Neto is a professional hitter, and most scouts agree that his bat-to-ball skills are his greatest asset.
Neto hit just .225/.308/.377 last season, but it's difficult to lay the blame for an up-and-down rookie season completely at his feet after having so little seasoning in the minors. But with that major league experience now under this belt, the bar will be raised heading into 2024.
The Angels already got a head start with Neto's service time clock after calling him up last season. If the Halos actually believe that he's going to be that above-average hitter who can play both second base and shortstop, the front office could kick the tires on a potential contract extension.
The goal of these types of extensions is to follow the model set by the Atlanta Braves and other organizations that identify talent, then secure those players at least a year or two beyond their arbitration window. It gives the team cost control and it gives the player financial security. At 23 years old, this could be a fine deal for Neto and the Angels.