Angels young star’s early spring performance bodes well for potential breakout season

One of the Angels' best young players is off to a great start down at spring training.
Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

While it is important to remember that spring training numbers aren't usually all that predictive, getting off to a good start is strictly better than getting off to a crummy one. Building confidence leading into the season is a good way to insure that a guy is ready to roll on Opening Day, even if it doesn't always work out that way. For the Los Angeles Angels' Zach Neto, he is certainly well on his way to doing just that.

When the Angels drafted Neto with the 13th overall pick in the 2022, he was coming off a college career at Campbell University, where he put up video game-esque numbers. Just in his last season in college, he slashed .407/.514/.769 while quickly establishing himself as one of the best college bats in the entire draft class. Neto rewarded the Angels' faith in him by blasting his way through the minor leagues and getting called up to the big leagues last April.

Neto's first look at the majors had its ups and down. He showed flashes of what he could do at the plate and in the field, but his .685 OPS for the season across 329 plate appearances left something to be desired. Fortunately, it looks like Neto is playing for keeps this spring and appears poised to burst onto the scene in 2024.

Thursday? More of the same.

Zach Neto's hot start this spring could be the boost the LA Angels need

All of the usual early spring training and small sample size caveats apply here, but Neto looked tremendous over the weekend when he basically carried the offense. He drove the ball with authority and used his legs to leg out a triple while driving in a trio of runs. He hasn't even gotten to 10 plate appearances this spring, but already he looks like a guy that is going to do some damage this year.

The Angels are going to need him to be that guy if they want to contend this year. The pitching staff is still very unsettled, and with the health of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon in perpetual limbo and Shohei Ohtani leaving in free agency, LA is going to have to have some players step up on offense to at least make things interesting, with Neto being near the top of the list.

There is still a lot of spring training left to go, and fans shouldn't draw too many conclusions from one good game. However, the fact that Neto is already showing what he is capable of in camp should give Angels fans some hope that they can expect even more out of him in 2024 when the games actually count.

More LA Angels News from Halo Hangout