Here are the Angels prospects to keep an eye on as the MiLB season begins

April 4th, 2024

ANAHEIM -- While the Angels have opened with a 4-2 start to the season, it’s also time for the club’s Minor League affiliates to begin action in 2024.

Triple-A Salt Lake’s season is already underway, while the rest of the club’s affiliates are slated to begin play on Friday. First baseman Nolan Schanuel, who was previously the club’s No. 1 prospect, recently graduated from MLB Pipeline’s rankings, leaving the club with outfielder as the organization’s No. 1 prospect.

Rada is joined by right-hander Caden Dana on a loaded Double-A Rocket City roster that includes the club’s top four prospects and seven of their Top 30. Here’s a look at where the Angels’ top prospects will open the 2024 season:

Triple-A Salt Lake Bees

Player to Watch: OF Jordyn Adams, No. 23
Adams got his first taste of the Majors last season, hitting .128 in 17 games, and he needs to continue to improve offensively while at Triple-A. He’s considered a solid defender who can play all outfield positions and is a plus-runner, but manager Ron Washington said during Spring Training he’d like to see the 24-year-old get stronger physically as well.

Pitcher to Watch: RHP Davis Daniel, No. 28
Like Adams, Daniel reached the Majors for the first time last year but had more success, posting a 2.19 ERA with nine strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings over three relief appearances. He’s one of the club’s starting pitching depth options and threw six scoreless frames in his 2024 debut with the Bees.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: RHP Kelvin Caceres, No. 27 (out for season with right lat strain)

Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas
Opening Day: Friday, 4 p.m. PT, at Tennessee

Player to Watch: OF Nelson Rada, No. 1
Rada is only just 18 but will make the jump to Double-A after slashing .276/.395/.346 with two homers, 13 doubles, six triples, 48 RBIs and 55 stolen bases in 115 games with Single-A Inland Empire last year. He made an impression during Spring Training and is considered the organization’s center fielder and leadoff hitter of the future. It’s not out of the question for him to reach the Majors this year given how aggressive the Angels are with their prospects, but it’ll be up to him to perform against much older competition.

Pitcher to Watch: RHP Caden Dana, No. 2
Dana, 20, is also being challenged with the jump to Double-A after posting a 3.56 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings across Single-A and High-A last year. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has a similar look to Noah Syndergaard thanks to his long blond hair; he also made the most of his time in Spring Training this year, including during Spring Breakout.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: 2B/SS Kyren Paris, No. 3; RHP Ben Joyce, No. 4; RHP Jack Kochanowicz, No. 9; RHP Victor Mederos, No. 15; 3B Cole Fontenelle, No. 30

High-A Tri-City Dust Devils
Opening Day: Friday, 7:05 p.m. PT, at Eugene

Player to Watch: SS Denzer Guzman, No. 6
Guzman, 20, is continuing to develop offensively, and the Angels believe he has the tools to stick at shortstop defensively, but he’ll have to improve on his strikeout rate going forward.

Pitcher to Watch: RHP Walbert Urena, No. 12
Urena was in big league camp this year for the first time and displayed plus-stuff, especially for a 20-year-old. He recorded a 5.66 ERA at Single-A Inland Empire last year but struck out 97 in 98 2/3 innings and is learning to harness his stuff.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: OF Jorge Ruiz, No. 16; C Alberto Rios, No. 17; RHP Camden Minacci, No. 18; RHP Jorge Marcheco, No. 19; RHP Joel Hurtado, No. 20

Single-A Inland Empire 66ers
Opening Day: Friday, 6:35 p.m. PT, Visalia

Player to Watch: C Dario Laverde, No. 7
Laverde is one of two talented catchers on the r0ster, including Juan Flores, who drew comparisons to a young Ivan Rodriguez during Spring Training. Leverde, 19, is a Venezuela native with a plus-hit tool and should stick behind the plate.

Pitcher to Watch: RHP Barrett Kent, No. 5
Kent was selected in the eighth round of the 2023 Draft and the Angels paid over-slot, much like they did with Dana in ’22. The 19-year-old Kent has a prototypical starter build and didn’t allow a run in 8 2/3 innings last year in the Minors.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: C Juan Flores, No. 21; SS Capri Ortiz, No. 22; LHP Francis Texido, No. 29