Angels’ aggressive promotions are costing them in the short and long term

Patience has eluded the Angels' front office in recent years.
Los Angeles Angels shortstop Zach Neto
Los Angeles Angels shortstop Zach Neto / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Developing prospects takes time. A lot of players, when they're first drafted into professional baseball, have immense talent, but that can only take you so far. Baseball is a game of adjustments, and at the highest level, those adjustments are even more minute in detail, but are crucial when it comes to the differences between an everyday player and career minor leaguer.

The Los Angeles Angels have not exercised patience with some of their top draft picks over the past several seasons, and that's a recipe for disaster. Not only does it allow for bad habits to form without correction, but it also drains your talent pool down on the farm.

The Angels have made a lot of rash decisions of late when it comes to how they promote their top prospects, and it's a process that will have lasting complications both now and later.

LA Angels’ aggressive promotions are costing them in the short and long term

Some of the most recent examples of the Angels' haphazard approach to developing talent are Nolan Schanuel and Zach Neto. Schanuel was taken in the first round last July, only to be called upon in August. Neto was the Halos' first-round selection in 2022, but only logged 48 minor league games before making it to The Show. What are Perry Minasian and Co. doing?

Schanuel, who almost every scout agrees is a top-tier talent, debuted to rave reviews last season while posting a .402 on-base percentage. However, 29 games does not a career make. Through the first month of the 2024 season, Schanuel's barely hitting above the Mendoza line and he's not drawing near the number of walks he did in 2023.

Neto is another example of an advanced bat who wasn't able to properly develop down in the minors. The Angels aggressively elevated Neto through the minor leagues after drafting him in 2022 and before you knew it, he was in the big leagues less than a year later. Neto plays above average defense, but his bat is nowhere near major league ready.

Another issue with these rapid promotions, besides the fact that the players haven't been given appropriate time to find success in the minors, is their contract status. Teams are given four to five years before they're even required to elevate players to the 40-man roster. But once they make it, their service time clock begins to tick. So, by skipping steps, the Angels have effectively shortened the time that both Schanuel and Neto will be in the organization.

Poor development and an accelerated path to free agency are just two flaws with the aggressive manner with which the Angels promote their top prospects. Let's hope Anaheim has learned its lesson and keep Caden Dana and Nelson Rada in the minors until they're ready. Neither player must be added to the 40-man roster until 2026.

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