Angels begin to see youth invasion

September 4th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Rhett Bollinger’s Angels Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ANAHEIM -- With veterans Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López, Matt Moore, Dominic Leone and Hunter Renfroe getting claimed on waivers on Thursday, the Angels are going with a bit of a youth movement the rest of the way.

Infielder Kyren Paris, ranked as the club’s No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was called up for the first time on Friday and started at shortstop in all three games against the A’s. He made his debut on Friday and picked up his first hit on Saturday. It was especially cool for Paris, since he grew up in nearby Oakley, Calif., and his first hit came off right-hander Paul Blackburn, who was raised in neighboring Brentwood, Calif.

“It was a special moment; one that I've dreamed of,” Paris said. “And for it to come true -- it's special.”

Paris, 21, isn’t the only youngster getting a chance with the Angels down the stretch. Nolan Schanuel, the No. 11 pick in the 2023 Draft, has been the club’s regular first baseman since getting called up on Aug. 18 and has fared well, hitting .273 with a double and two RBIs in 12 games. The 21-year-old has walked 10 times and struck out six times, showing excellent plate discipline and awareness.

Shortstop Zach Neto is close to starting a rehab assignment. The 22-year-old has been out since Aug. 3 with lower back inflammation. Reliever Ben Joyce, the club’s No. 7 prospect, is also getting close to rejoining the bullpen. He pitched in the Arizona Complex League this week. The 22-year-old hasn’t pitched with the Angels since June 9 after being diagnosed with ulnar neuritis in his right forearm.

Right-hander Chase Silseth, 23, also could return at some point next week. He’s been out with a concussion sustained after he was hit in the head by a throw from first to third. Silseth has pitched well this season with a 4.10 ERA, including a 3.34 ERA in six starts since joining the rotation on July 19.

Logan O’Hoppe, 23, will also continue to get regular playing time behind the plate the rest of the way, and outfielder Mickey Moniak, 25, has had a breakout year in his first full season with the Angels. Reliever José Soriano, 24, is also one of their key contributors in the bullpen.

“We have some players up here getting some opportunities,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “And being able to evaluate at this level for this length of a time is not only great for us, but it’s valuable for them to get these at-bats and see these pitches and get these innings to see where they stand. Where we’re going with our future and the young core of players we have, we really like.”