Angels select Zach Neto 13th overall in downtown’s first MLB draft – Press Enterprise

LOS ANGELES – The Angels selected college shortstop Zach Neto of Campbell University with the 13th overall pick in MLB’s amateur draft on Sunday.

Neto was chosen the Big South Conference Player of the Year after a redshirt sophomore season in which he batted .407 with 15 home runs in 53 games. He also stole 19 bases in 20 attempts and drew 39 walks compared to 19 strikeouts.

Neto also pitched in college, but he will start his professional career exclusively as a shortstop.

“I’m a very exciting player,” Neto said. “I bring a lot of energy. I’m Cuban so I tend to be loud. I bring a lot of energy, a lot of confidence. ”

For the Angels, who used all 20 of their draft picks last year on pitchers, the selection of Neto signaled a new direction under first-year scouting director Tim McIlvaine.

Neto was projected as a mid-first-round pick by most evaluators in a draft that was considered light on pitching talent at the top. He amassed a .403 batting average in three years with Campbell along with 40 doubles, five triples, 27 home runs and 108 RBIs.

“First of all, he moves really well. Great body control, ”McIlvaine said via Zoom. “He throws well laterally, to his left and to his right. Doesn’t get himself out. Doesn’t chase. Athleticism up the middle. That was a big focus for us. ”

Neto, flanked by his parents and siblings at Xbox Plaza LA Live, described the moment his name was called by Commissioner Rob Manfred as the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

The dream will continue on Monday, when Neto will mingle with Angels All-Stars Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani at Dodger Stadium. The draft was held in Los Angeles (and outside) for the first time ever, in conjunction with the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.

It all amounts to a whirlwind tour for Neto, who was among a small group of players and families who traveled in from the East Coast to attend the draft in person.

“He’s living our childhood dream of one day becoming a professional baseball player,” said his father, Joaquin.

The Angels will make eight selections Monday in rounds 3-10 and will have 10 selections on Tuesday to conclude the draft.

The Dodgers’ only selection on the first day of the draft is 40th overall, the first pick of the second round. They were required to move down 10 slots as a penalty for exceeding a $ 290 million payroll – the third tier of MLB’s competitive balance tax structure.

The Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks made history by selecting the sons of two former major leaguers with the first and second picks, respectively.

High school shortstop Jackson Holliday, the son of seven-time All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday, was taken by Baltimore with the first overall pick. High school outfielder Druw Jones, the son of five-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder Andruw Jones, went to Arizona with the second pick.

Pitcher Kumar Rocker improved his draft position in the last year. The hard-throwing former Vanderbilt right-hander was chosen third overall by the Texas Rangers, one year after he was taken 10th overall by the New York Mets but did not sign amid reported medical concerns. The 6-foot-5 Rocker has been pitching injury-free for the Tri-City ValleyCats of the independent Frontier League for the last month, drawing the attention of scouts along the way.

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