When we should expect Angels prospect Zach Neto to make the MLB roster

Feb 21, 2023; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels infielder Zach Neto poses for a portrait during
Feb 21, 2023; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels infielder Zach Neto poses for a portrait during / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Neto was selected in the first round, 13th overall, in the 2022 MLB Draft. Despite his professional inexperience, the Angels had Neto play seven games in A+ ball before sending him to AA Rocket City.

In those 30 games in AA, Neto slashed .320/.382/.492 with four home runs and 23 RBI in 136 plate appearances. In a small sample, Neto absolutely tore the cover off the ball which is super encouraging to see.

This great performance bumped him into the top 100 prospect rankings for MLB Pipeline and other sites as well. Neto at least so far, looks like a draft pick the Angels got right.

When should we expect to see Zach Neto in an Angels uniform?

The Angels have a hole they did not fill at shortstop. I'd think that at least part of the reason they didn't do that, is because they assume Neto is their future at the position. Whether that's right or wrong to think is another story, but that's my guess as to why they didn't address the position (other than the money).

Despite the hole at shortstop, Neto's chances at an Opening Day spot are zero. He's only 22 and has 37 games of experience. He's not as MLB-ready as someone like Ben Joyce (who's also extremely improbable to make the roster on Opening Day) and they have no incentive to rush him when they do have MLB players like David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo there to play the position even with their flaws.

If Fletcher, Rengifo, and whoever else the Angels opt to deploy at shortstop struggle, it's possible we see Angels fans clamoring for Neto. If Neto has another great year, I wouldn't be shocked to see him up with the Angels down the stretch, hopefully for a playoff push.

My guess is we see him on Opening Day or in the middle of the 2024 season. Give Neto a full year of at-bats in the minors and make sure not to rush him. We've seen the results of the Angels rushing prospects, it's not pretty.

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