New level, same dominance for this Halos prospect

April 26th, 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.

ANAHEIM -- Given their aggressive nature with prospects, it wasn’t out of the norm for the Angels to challenge right-hander with a promotion to Double-A Rocket City to open the season.

And the 20-year-old has responded so far, as he's posted a 1.47 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings through his first three starts. He was dominant in his last outing, throwing seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts in a win over Double-A Pensacola on Sunday.

Dana, ranked as the club’s No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is on the club’s radar as a potential callup this season despite his youth. He was in Major League camp for the first time in Spring Training and also shined as the starting pitcher in the club’s Spring Breakout contest against Dodgers prospects.

Angels manager Ron Washington was impressed by Dana during Spring Training, liking his attitude and work ethic.

“I love his mound presence,” Washington said. “I love his confidence in what he's trying to execute. He's young, and he's very absorbent, meaning that he's absorbing every bit of knowledge that he can get -- and he's trying to apply it. The one thing about this organization is that age and your experience don’t matter. If you’re able to get outs, that’s what matters.”

Dana is listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, but he noted during the spring that he’s put on more weight and muscle since being drafted in the 11th round of the 2022 Draft out of Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey, N.J. He also sports long blond hair, getting constant comparisons to former Angels right-hander Noah Syndergaard.

The Angels were high on Dana from the start, signing him to a $1.5 million bonus, which at the time was the largest given to any player selected after the 10th round. Dana was considered a top talent in the Draft, but he had a strong commitment to the University of Kentucky.

He pitched just 8 1/3 innings in his first year as a professional in 2022 and started last season with Single-A Inland Empire before posting a 1.20 ERA in three starts, earning him a promotion to High-A Tri-City, where he had a 4.22 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings. He was shut down for precautionary reasons in mid-July, but he has otherwise been healthy and will continue to build his innings total.

Here’s a look at some other players off to impressive starts at the other levels of the Angels’ farm system:

Triple-A Salt Lake: OF
Teodosio is off to a hot start offensively, slashing .341/.375/.561 with one homer, three doubles, six triples and five stolen bases in 23 games. The 24-year-old center fielder was signed out of the University of Clemson in 2021 and isn’t ranked among the club’s Top 30 prospects. He slashed .212/.299/.315 with seven homers, 39 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 118 games with Double-A Rocket City last year.

High-A Tri City: SS
Guzman, 20, is hitting .296 with three doubles, a triple, five RBIs and three stolen bases in 17 games, including consecutive three-hit efforts on Wednesday and Thursday . He's also considered a solid defender at shortstop and is another prospect who is young for his level. Ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect, Guzman is roughly two and a half years younger than his average competition and has yet to face a pitcher younger than him.

Single-A Inland Empire: C
Despite being just 18, Flores turned heads during Spring Training -- and even drew some comparisons to a young Ivan Rodriguez. Flores is one of two highly regarded catching prospects at Inland Empire, along with Dario Laverde. Flores, ranked as the club’s No. 21 prospect, is slashing .250/.311/.446 with two homers, five doubles and 12 RBIs in 14 games despite being three years younger than his average competition.