When will Nelson Rada make his LA Angels debut?

What to make of Nelson Rada as a prospect.

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Nelson Rada, an 18-year-old out of Venezuela, has been the name everyone is talking about in Tempe, Arizona. He’s expected to make his Los Angeles Angels debut later this month during spring action as a non-roster invitee for spring training. He was initially signed by the Angels as an amateur free agent in early 2022. In 50 games for the Angels’ Dominican Summer League team, he batted .311 with more stolen bases than strikeouts, 27, and the same number of walks and RBI as strikeouts, 26.

He averaged a run per game at the rookie level. He made the AL Dominican League Summer All-Star team as well. At Inland Empire in 2023, he batted a respected .276, but not with quite the same strikeout to walk ratio. When looking at him on video, he looks very similar to an Alberto Callaspo, but with the speed of former Angels star Chone Figgins. He did all this before reaching legal voting age! He is easily the youngest player in Angels camp.

What makes him so unique is obviously how young he is, but also how he can hit the ball to the gaps, as well as square it up/get on top of the baseball. With every player trying to be a power hitter, Rada looks instead to be a possible future leadoff hitter with fantastic speed.

AngelsWin conducted an interview with Rada last season, and the top prospect maturely said, despite his age, that “the game stays the same, no matter the level. I want to be [in Anaheim] as soon as possible.”

Angels top prospect Nelson Rada will steal spotlight at spring training

With how barren the minor-league system is right now for the Angels, the club would love a guy that could spark the team like Mike Trout did in 2011 and 2012. To compare him to Trout as a prospect is very unfair, but his speed is there, and he’s still growing into his body. Being another left-handed batter that plays the outfield also gives him Kole Calhoun vibes. The confidence he speaks with is very surprising for someone of his age. With time, Rada could be a big-time playmaker for the Angels later this year in September, but if not, you could see him on the roster as soon as 2025.

My theory is, with the logjam of prospects in Double-A Rocket City, the Angels could start him in High-A with the Tri-City Dust Devils. The more experience he gets in the minor leagues, the better he will be.