MADISON, Ala. — With the Rocket City Trash Pandas' playoff bid already clinched, the Los Angeles Angels could have put things in cruise control down here in Double A. Think about it: the Trash Pandas already have a spot in the Southern League playoffs and their parent club could want to play inexperienced players at the expense of putting the most competitive lineup. But instead, they've called up some big time talent and assigned new players acquired from trades to AA, bringing them a step closer to the big leagues and making their playoff-bound Pandas better.
The latest is Zach Neto, the Halos’ first round pick in this year’s MLB Draft from Campbell University. The two-time Big South Conference Player of the Year hit over .400 with a 1.251 OPS for his career with the Fighting Camels.
After just 7 games at high-A Tri City, Neto got called up to AA where he's picked up the pace. In his first five games as a Panda, he’s hitting .435 with a double, a homer and seven runs batted in. Considering what he had to say back on draft day, it’s no wonder he’s comfortable.
“It was just a childhood dream, you know, I always wanted to be a big leaguer,” he told MLB Network Radio on Draft day. “Being able to put this Angels shirt and hat on, it's just a moment come true, for real. And I just can't I can't wait to put on the uniform and start playing because all the pressure's off my shoulders now.”
The shortstop is playing pressure-free in his first year as a professional, and the Trash Pandas are better off for it.