LA Angels Call Up Top Prospect; Demote 6-Year Mainstay To Minors

After five years as a starter in the Los Angeles Angels' infield, 28-year-old David Fletcher is headed to the minors, as the team has decided to hand the shortstop job to its top prospect who's been absolutely tearing up the minors, 22-year-old Zach Neto.

It only took Neto 44 minor league games to convince the Angels that he was ready for The Show. He was the Halos' first-round pick (13th overall) less than a year ago in the 2022 MLB June Draft. 

One pro scout said his team considered taking Neto in the top five, and that their analytics had him "off the charts." 

Neto started in A-Ball last summer, but after just seven games, a homer, a stolen base and four RBIs, he was promoted to Double-A. There, between 30 games last year and seven more this month, he's dominated to the tune of a .342 average and a .968 OPS. In the seven games this year, he's absolutely crushing it, with three bombs, 10 RBIs, three stolen bases, a .444 average and 1.374 OPS. 

He made his MLB debut batting 8th for the Angels Saturday afternoon. 

As for Fletcher, the sixth-year veteran was off to a dreadful start this season, with just two singles in 16 at-bats. He's never been a big producer in the majors, with a career .681 OPS (86 OPS+), and only 14 home runs total. 

Apart from a 13-game rehab assignment after an injury last season, Fletcher hasn't spent any time in the minors since 2018.

 Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports