Angels prospects cherish time with Team USA: 'It was an honor'
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Team USA manager Mark DeRosa called Angels skipper Phil Nevin to tell him he needed a couple extra players for late in Thursday’s exhibition game between the two clubs, Nevin figured it was the perfect opportunity for a few of the Halos’ top prospects to learn from some of the game’s best.
Nevin met individually with Zach Neto, Jordyn Adams, Jeremiah Jackson and Trey Cabbage to inform them they would be spending Thursday with Team USA. They were all thrilled for the opportunity to be around a roster full of All-Stars, while also being able to wear the Team USA logo across their chests.
“It was awesome,” said Neto, who also had an RBI single off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in Friday's 6-5 loss. “Every person I looked to was either an All-Star, a legend or a Hall of Famer. So definitely to spend time over there, it was an honor.”
Neto, the No. 13 pick in last year’s Draft and the club’s No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, spent time with Orioles star Cedric Mullins, as they both attended Campbell University in North Carolina. He also got a call from Angels superstar Mike Trout on Wednesday night, who told him to soak it all in and enjoy the moment.
“I got to pick a lot of people’s brains and tried to have at least one conversation with everybody there,” Neto said. “When I first got there, people already knew who I was. So that was nice and how some of the conversations started. Not many people get to say they played with a bunch of All-Stars and legends, so to be in that locker room and that dugout, I'm blessed.”
Jackson, ranked as the club’s No. 15 prospect, and Adams, ranked as the club’s No. 30 prospect, spent time with White Sox superstar Tim Anderson throughout the game. Jackson and Anderson are both from Alabama, while Adams was born in Mississippi before attending high school in South Carolina and, later, North Carolina.
“We’re both from Alabama, so we clicked,” Jackson said. “I learned a lot from him. It's kind of the way he carries himself, his swag that he brings to the game. It’s good to see him out there doing his thing. Really, it's the mental side, I think that's the biggest part that people can overlook. And to hear that from him, see how he plays and how it translates and hear his thought process. It all makes sense.”
Jackson and Adams said the biggest takeaway from talking to Anderson was learning about the mental side of baseball and how much self-confidence can make a difference.
“It was kind of like living a dream yesterday,” Adams said. “It was wonderful talking with Tim. Just considering his background, and same with me and JJ, growing up in the deep south is different than any place in the world.
“The main thing I asked him was what was that one thing early in his career that separated him and made his game go from the level that he was at to the next level that he's at now. And he just said honestly, it’s just believing in himself and knowing that he's that guy, he's that type of player to go out there and change the game. So that was the biggest thing I took away.”
Detmers turns in another solid outing
Lefty Reid Detmers has had a strong spring and showed off his improved velocity against the Dodgers on Friday, as his fastball reached as high as 96 mph. He went 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts. He has a 2.25 ERA with 11 strikeouts in eight innings pitched this spring.
Detmers, whose fastball averaged 93.2 mph last year, said velocity isn’t everything, but he has been pleased with the way he’s been feeling.
“It feels good, obviously, you want to have more velo, but I’m not really thinking about that,” Detmers said. “You still have to go out there and pitch. You can’t just blow it by guys. You have to pitch and sequence pitches.”
Detmers, who posted a 3.77 ERA in 25 starts as a rookie last year, also said he was excited to pitch against Kershaw. Detmers, 23, has some similarities in his delivery to Kershaw.
“It’s cool, he’s someone I watched growing up,” Detmers said. “I’ve studied him pretty hard. It’s cool to go out there and pitch against him and see how he works, see how he sequences and just see how he moves.”