The 2023 season will go down as another lost season for the Los Angeles Angels. The team was competitive for the entire first half and all the way through July but a historically bad trade deadline combined with more injuries than anyone can count has the Angels hoping they remain below the 90-loss mark.
While there's been a lot more bad than good, it's always more fun to be more positive than negative. There have been many good things to come out of this season, even with the Angels' record sitting where it is.
As we reflect on the season we just watched, let's focus a bit on the good things we saw this season.
1) Several LA Angels rookies are developing in front of our eyes
The biggest story from this season might have been the play of several rookies. If Perry Minasian remains the Angels GM past this season, his ability to draft and develop players very quickly would be a huge reason why.
Zach Neto was the team's spark plug for much of this season. Neto was promoted in April less than one year after being drafted and when the team was going well, Neto was a huge reason for that. He fit in perfectly at shortstop defensively and had some great moments offensively as well. The Angels were 42-41 in games he played and just 30-48 in games he didn't. Quite the contrast.
Nolan Schanuel has reached base in each of his first 28 games to begin his MLB career. Sure, you'd like to see more power, but that's so encouraging from a guy who was drafted just a couple months ago. Schanuel, like Neto, appears to have a future spot solidified as of now which is a great thing.
Logan O'Hoppe is another Angels rookie who has really impressed when he's played. His injury was a crusher, but he's shown a ton of power, particularly down the stretch, and looked like a seasoned veteran defensively. It's hard to find a catcher who can both hit and defend, and the Angels might've finally done that.
Who can forget the rookie pitchers we've seen? Ben Joyce, Jose Soriano, and Sam Bachman all showed a ton of positive flashes when healthy. Who knows whether Bachman will remain in the 'pen or not, but Joyce and Soriano look like legitimate late-game arms in the future. There's a ton of young talent to be excited about.