Interview conducted by Taylor Blake Ward, AngelsWin.com
November 24th, 2022
The Angels drafted the 18-year old Caden Dana in the 11th round this past summer with a signing bonus of $1,497,500, breaking a record for the highest bonus given to a player drafted after the tenth round. MLB.com had his draft slot valued at $125,000, a difference of $1,372,500.
The 6-foot-4 pitcher touches 95 mph consistently and touched higher than that in shorter stints in 2021, showing the ability to pitch with velocity deep into his outings. Caden commands the pitch well but his fastball can straighten out at times. His best pitch right now is his breaking ball, a curve that generates some ugly swings and buckled knees thrown in the mid 70's that's a true hard bender. He commands the pitch well and scouts call it a plus pitch. Dana also throws a changeup, but as most young hurlers he'll need to continue to get a good feel for the pitch and command it in the zone.
Dana only got into four games in 2022, pitching to a 6.48 ERA across 8 1/3 innings of work, fanning 8 batters. He should return to the Low-A Inland Empire 66ers in 2023 where he'll get a full season of work in from the mound.
Here's Caden Dana's first professional strikeout with the Inland Empire 66er's this past September.
Take a look at the stuff Dana can bring from his performance in the Perfect Game National in 2021.
Check out our interview with pitching prospect Caden Dana below.
Here is the complete interview transcript for the deaf, hard of hearing and quotes. Note: there was a bunch of background noise in this interview so we apologize if we weren't able to transcribe some parts of the chat with Caden Dana.
AngelsWin.com: Caden Dana, Angels 11th round pick, Angels prospect. So, Caden, just starting, you’re only a month, if even, into your pro career. How is it going so far?
Caden Dana: It’s been amazing. I’ll say it’s, pretty much [unintelligible 00:00:13] told me about. So, whenever I got all the updates and things we expect from him. And I’ll say it’s been a blessing [background noise 00:00:24].
AngelsWin.com: Now, out in Arizona, difference between low-A and Rookie ball, there is a difference. But, first off, how do you feel that everything in Arizona went?
Caden Dana: I mean, obviously, I think I needed that because going from month to not, you know, getting competitive, [unintelligible 00:00:44] playing competitive-game atmosphere. I think I definitely needed that; it definitely helped me, you know, just get back into the game. And was a good guy there that coaches [unintelligible 00:00:56] kept coming.
AngelsWin.com: Being able to start that last game, that potential clincher for the Arizona affiliate, how much confidence do you feel the organization gave you that day, saying, “We’re going to give you the ball in a do-or-die?”
Caden Dana: Kind of, just that feeling of, like, knowing that, like, just how fresh and new I am, that they [unintelligible 00:01:16] that, kind of, showed it. I, kind of, got that in the back of my mind. It felt good, you know? I constantly have the ball being that young; I’m starting on the seventh day, you know, knowing what’s on the line. Yeah, it was good that—I needed that.
AngelsWin.com: Being able to say you graduated high school just a few months ago, and now you’re in Single-A baseball; it’s a big gap. You know, not a lot of kids get to say that. For you being here, I know, you know, was it Thursday night, Friday night, Thursday night—which ever night is was—up in Visalia, how do you feel it went, just overall, first off?
Caden Dana: Overall, I think, like, it was just my first time out there; I was a little nervous, which, you know, you expect, but I felt really good. Once I’d been out there, I, kind of, like, I knew it was a big step up from rookie ball and even high school. And, you know, I knew how important it is going to be. I handled it pretty well. So, I wasn’t really too mad about it, because, you know, I was throwing strikes, and that’s really what my goal was going to be that day. So, I mean, you know, it was a bad outing that happened.
AngelsWin.com: I’ll backtrack on it, not necessarily a bad outing, maybe by the numbers. But do you feel that that second inning, you were able to learn a lot and understand that even though it might not be a good numbers day, it may’ve been a good day in a development-focus kind of thing.
Caden Dana: Absolutely. Yeah. I, kind of, like, just going be the report, I, kind of, see, like, how much, you know, giving up three bases is painful. And that’s one of the things I really, like, don’t want to be doing. You can’t give up three bases. So, right now, attacking the zone is a big thing. You know, it’s a big thing at this level. And it’s, kind of, what I did. I’m just making my way here.
AngelsWin.com: How much did you use your changeup at high school, just roughly?
Caden Dana: Nowhere near as much as I do now.
AngelsWin.com: Yeah. So, being able—your first strike out—on whatever night your start was, a Thursday or Friday—having it end with a changeup, how far do you feel like your changeup has progressed in this very short period of time?
Caden Dana: A lot. You know, it’s—high school, going back to what you said, I didn’t throw it [unintelligible 00:03:38] I was mainly, you know, fastball, curveball, slider, and I threw the changeup once in a blue moon. And now, it’s just, like, so, you know, that’s why I don’t put grips and getting whatever you feel for what’s comfortable, and that really helped, and I’m throwing a lot more.
AngelsWin.com: Plans for the winter—I don’t know if the organization’s told you anything, instructs or anything along those lines—do you know what the plan is for the winter for you?
Caden Dana: For right now, I think I’m on the wait list for Instructional League. Hopefully, I get my name called for that. [unintelligible 00:04:13]. And whenever, you know, [unintelligible 00:04:17] get more flexible and, I guess, probably do some fancy [unintelligible 00:04:22].
AngelsWin.com: A lot was made about your mechanics and your hair comparable to Noah Syndergaard. I see the hair is diminished—
Caden Dana: It’s on the comeback. [laugh]
AngelsWin.com: It’s on the comeback. I like that; it’s on the comeback. Who do you, kind of, watch at the major-league level. I know that you’re a big James Karinchak fan in Cleveland there. Who in the major leagues do you, kind of, see yourself hoping to become, in a sense?
Caden Dana: I really don’t look at anyone to, like, become. I try to, like, be myself. I feel like that’s the only way that’s going to get me better. So, like, you know, I mean, for a couple of guys I would look at is—I like Matt Scherzer and deGrom; deGrom’s really everyone’s favorite, because, you know, he’s almost perfect every outing. But yeah, [inaudible 00:05:15].
AngelsWin.com: And then being able to be drafted with KC, obviously, really a big day for your family. Were you guys all together at that time?
Caden Dana: We were. I went fourth pick, called the team back, and that was something to remember, and that’s going to be, you know, in my mind forever.