As the youngest of three baseball-playing brothers, Caden Dana has surely spent most of his life following in his older siblings’ footsteps. But on Tuesday, it was older brother Casey who found himself taking his younger brother’s lead.
One of the top-ranked prospects available entering the third and final day of the 2022 MLB Draft, Caden -- a right-handed pitcher out of Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) -- didn’t have to wait long before the Angels took him in the 11th round (No. 328 overall). As special as that moment was, it became that much more significant approximately an hour later, when the Halos also selected Casey -- an outfielder from the University of Connecticut -- in the 16th round (No. 478 overall).
“Casey was the guy we were targeting as a Draft pick to begin with,” Angels amateur scouting director Tim McIlvaine said. “Then, once it came together that we took his brother [Caden] with our first pick of Day 3, we knew we had to get Casey.
“We’re glad to keep them together and can’t wait to see where this story goes. I think it’ll be really fun.”
With their selections, the duo joins their oldest brother -- Cullen, a 30th-round pick by the Padres in 2018 -- as MLB draftees.
Caden, the No. 119 prospect in the Draft according to MLB Pipeline, has drawn comparisons to Angels starter Noah Syndergaard, both in terms of his physicality and his flowing locks.
The 6-foot-4 pitcher was up to 95 mph consistently this spring and touched higher than that in shorter stints last summer, showing the ability to hold his velocity deep into outings.
Caden’s fastball can straighten out at times, but he tends to command the pitch pretty well. His ability to land his breaking ball, a real bat-missing curve -- a hard downer thrown around 75-76 mph that flashes plus -- for strikes more consistently will be key to keep hitters from cheating on the heater. The pitcher also boasts a changeup, but it will need work at the next level.
The key in Caden’s development, much like a lot of young power pitchers, will be his command.
Casey, on the other hand, played his first four collegiate seasons at Seton Hall before transferring to Connecticut last summer. With the Huskies, he hit .313 with 21 doubles and 12 home runs in 2022. He flashed his power and production that impressed the Angel’s scouts, but the thing that won them over about Casey was his toughness.
“He’s a tough kid,” McIlvaine said. “He got 28 stitches and only missed two days and in the next series he went 8-for-13 in that series. The numbers [are impressive, too] as he had .926 OPS with 12 homers. He hit a few really long homers when we had guys in attendance so he was a guy we were targeting.”