Angels Prospects: Caden Dana lighting it up, former Dodger struggling with LAA

What's going on down in the minor leagues?
Mar 3, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher Caden Dana (91) pitches against the
Mar 3, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher Caden Dana (91) pitches against the / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels' struggles with developing pitching are well-documented. The Angels have lagged behind the rest of the league significantly when it comes to upgrading their pitching development resources, although it does sound like the Angels' new pitching lab could change that for the better.

And at least one pitching prospect for LA looks like he could turn into something special. That man is Caden Dana.

Angels pitching prospect Caden Dana is shoving down in the minors in 2024

Dana was picked by the Angels in the 11th round of the 2022 MLB Draft and given a hefty overslot bonus to lure him away from his college commitment to Kentucky. Dana's development had been a somewhat slow burn through his first two years in pro ball. He struggled out of the gates, which is to be expected for a pitcher making the leap from high school, and followed that with a very reasonable 3.56 ERA in 2023 with the Angels managing his innings carefully.

In 2024, Dana is now putting himself on the map in a big way, which started back in spring training. Through his first six starts this season, he sports a 1.69 ERA as his fastball and slider have both played up this year at Double-A. Dana still doesn't have a ton of experience in the minor leagues and improving his changeup is still a priority, but LAA might have their hand forced by Dana soon if he keeps this up.

Hope around prospect Imanol Vargas, who Angels stole from Dodgers, is beginning to wane

Whenever a team has a chance to steal a guy from a cross-town rival and turn them into something, it is always a fun thing to follow. Outfield prospect Imanol Vargas played several seasons in the Dodgers organization and showed some real power all the way through his time in Double-A, but he still ended up being a minor league free agent primarily due to swing and miss concerns and the Angels snatched him up on a minor league deal.

Unfortunately, the early returns on Vargas' time with the Angels has left something to be desired. Despite starting the year at Low-A to get his feet under him, he is sporting just a .285 OPS across eight games of work.

Hopefully he can find his stroke soon, but the odds are a bit worse that the Angels are going to make the Dodgers regret giving up on him now.

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