Batting ninth for the dream Angels is shortstop Zach Neto
The Angels entered the 2023 season without a clear shortstop. Guys like Gio Urshela, Luis Rengifo, and David Fletcher were set to see reps at short, but none of them are considered to be a primary shortstop.
The Angels not having a true shortstop is why they decideed to promote Zach Neto after just 44 minor league games. He wound up being a true sparkplug for the Angels, even if his numbers didn't blow anyone away.
Neto wound up putting up a .685 OPS in 84 games for the Angels but showed a great knowledge of the strikezone, had some power, and looked very solid in the field. Neto will certainly be the everyday shortstop in 2024 as long as he remains healthy.
This Angels team finished 16 games below .500 in 2023, but when Neto played they were 43-41. They were a winning team when Neto was in the lineup and 18 games below .500 when he was out of it. Obviously there are some external factors involved in that, but the Angels were playing their best baseball when Neto was right in the middle of things. Remember when they took three of four against the eventual World Series champions? Neto had a great series before getting hurt at the end of it.
Angels fans should expect a step up from Neto in his second year in the league at just 23 years old, and there's every reason for them to be excited about him.