A primer on what to expect from the Angels Spring Breakout action

March 15th, 2024

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.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Count Angels manager Ron Washington as one of those intrigued by Spring Breakout, which is a first of its kind event that will feature the organization’s top prospects playing in an exhibition game against Dodgers prospects on Saturday.

The Angels will first host the Cubs in a traditional Cactus League game at 1:10 p.m. PT before the Spring Breakout game begins at roughly 4:10 p.m. PT at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The regular game will be televised by Bally Sports West, while the Spring Breakout game will be available on MLB Digital (MLB.TV, MLB.com, MLB app) Bally Sports West, ESPN+ and Gameday. Washington will manage the Spring Training game and Minor League field coordinator Joe Kruzel will manage the prospects.

Washington said he’s excited to watch the prospects play and that he already saw several of them firsthand in Cactus League action. The league-wide initiative runs through Sunday and each club will have at least one exhibition game featuring its top prospects, as ranked by MLB Pipeline.

“It certainly helps the game of baseball and I’ll be in the stands watching it,” Washington said. “We’ll see what they have to offer. I think it's a good thing for the game. Get to see the young kids who have a promising future. But the future may not be in the moment.”

Pitching plans
Right-hander Caden Dana, who is ranked as the club’s No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is slated to start the game after impressing in his first taste of Major League Spring Training. He’ll be joined by several others who also appeared in big league camp this year such as No. 10 prospect Jack Kochanowicz, No. 13 prospect Walbert Urena, No. 19 prospect Camden Minacci, No. 21 prospect Joel Hurtado and No. 28 prospect Kelvin Caceres.

Fellow right-hander Barrett Kent (No. 6 prospect) is also expected to see action in the game. Kent, 19, was selected in the eighth round of last year’s Draft, but was signed for over the slot value -- similar to the move the Angels pulled with Dana in the 2022 Draft.

Other pitchers who could appear in the game include:

Jorge Marcheco, RHP, No. 20
Francis Texido, LHP, No. 30
Nick Jones, LHP, NR
Bryce Osmond, RHP, NR
Hayden Seig, RHP, NR

Potential lineup
CF Nelson Rada, No. 2
SS Kyren Paris, No. 4
C Dario Laverde, No. 8
RF Jadiel Sanchez, No. 14
2B Denzer Guzman, No. 7
3B Cole Fontenelle, NR
LF Jorge Ruiz, No. 17
1B Sam Brown, NR

It’s difficult to predict exactly how the lineup will look, but it’s a good bet that Rada will be in center field and atop the lineup. He looks the part of a prototypical leadoff hitter with speed and patience. Paris and Fontenelle have both been in big league camp this spring, although Paris was optioned earlier this week. The Angels have plenty of middle infield and outfield prospects, but lack corner infield prospect depth.

Other players on the roster:

Alberto Rios, C/OF, No. 18
Juan Flores, C, No. 22

Adrian Placencia, 2B, No. 15
Capri Ortiz, SS, No. 23
Tucker Flint, INF, NR

Anthony Scull, OF, No. 26
David Calabrese, OF, NR

Position player to watch: CF Nelson Rada
Rada is just 18 years old but has been impressive in Cactus League play and is coming off a strong season with Single-A Inland Empire where he was more than four years younger than the average competition. Rada is likely to open the year with High-A Tri-City, but profiles as the eventual heir apparent to superstar Mike Trout in center field. He could make his MLB debut as soon as 2025, but is more likely to reach the Majors in 2026.

Pitcher to watch: RHP Caden Dana
Dana, 20, resembles former Angels right-hander Noah Syndergaard, as he has long blond hair and a large 6-foot-4 frame. He made three appearances in Cactus League play, allowing four runs in six innings with three strikeouts. He has a big arm with a fastball that can reach the high 90s to pair with his curveball, slider and developing changeup. He spoke about his excitement to play in Spring Breakout, declaring “beat the Dodgers.”