A top performer from each Angels affiliate

September 11th, 2023

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.

The Angels saw one of their Minor League affiliates clinch a postseason berth on Wednesday, as Single-A Inland Empire clinched a spot in the Cal League playoffs with a 4-2 win over Lake Elsinore.

The 66ers begin the three-game division series against Rancho Cucamonga that starts on Tuesday with Inland Empire hosting the first game. Rancho Cucamonga hosts Game 2 on Thursday and Game 3 on Friday, if necessary.

Sunday marked the end of the regular season for Single-A Inland Empire and High-A Tri-City, as the Minor League season is winding down. Double-A Rocket City’s season finale is Friday and Triple-A Salt Lake’s last regular season game is on Sept. 24.

With that in mind, here’s a look at one player at each of the club’s four primary affiliates who has improved his stock heading into next year

High-A Tri-City: RHP Caden Dana

Caden Dana, ranked as the club’s No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, reached High-A despite being just 19 and posted a 4.22 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings. He was shut down on July 15, however, as he was dealing with fatigue and the Angels wanted to be cautious with him.

Dana, who was signed for over slot in the 2022 Draft, has set himself up to be the club’s top internal pitching prospect heading into next year. He has a 6-foot-4 frame with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s to go along with a curveball and changeup.

Double-A Rocket City: SS Kyren Paris

Paris slashed .255/.393/.417 with 14 homers, 23 doubles, 44 stolen bases and 44 RBIs in 113 games at Double-A before being called up by the Angels to make his MLB debut on Sept. 1. The 21-year-old is the club's No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline.

Much like Nelson Rada, Paris is a plus-runner on the bases but doesn’t offer much power. Paris went 1-for-3 in Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Guardians and is hitting .115 in 10 games in his first taste of the Majors. But he’s at least put himself on the radar heading into next year.

Single-A Inland Empire: CF Nelson Rada

Rada, the club’s No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, turned 18 on Aug. 24 and had an impressive first full season at Single-A despite being four years younger than his average competition in the Cal League.

The Venezuela native batted .277/.397/.348 with two homers, 13 doubles, six triples, 48 RBIs and 55 stolen bases in 114 games. He’s still developing power but has an impressive eye at the plate and is considered a strong defender in center. Rada is a constant stolen base threat and batted .458 with three RBIs in seven games in September to finish the regular season strong.

Triple-A Salt Lake: RHP Kelvin Caceres

Kelvin Caceres, 23, wasn't among the club's Top 30 prospects to open the year but not only reached Triple-A this season but also is now ranked as the club's No. 24 prospect by MLB Pipeline. The reliever was signed for $10,000 in 2018 out of the Dominican Republic but has had a breakout season across three levels.

Caceres has posted a 4.62 ERA with 78 strikeouts and 30 walks in 48 2/3 innings, as he has an electric fastball but is learning to harness his stuff. But he could find himself in the bullpen mix next year if he improves his control.