Nelson Rada: Angels 2023 Minor League Player Of The Year


Nelson Rada stood a mere 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds when the Angels signed him for $1.85 million as a 16-year-old in 2022.

Since then he has added 20 pounds to his lithe frame, fueling hopes that the Venezuelan outfielder will eventually add power to go with his advanced plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills.

If he develops into a player who can hit 10-15 homers, as the Angels project, Rada should have the speed, defense and on-base ability to be a big league center fielder and leadoff man.

“He’s shown an ability to control the zone and to make consistent contact,” Angels farm director Joey Prebynski said, “and you’re dreaming on the projection that as he gets stronger, with a whole-field approach, he’s going to continue to learn how to drive the baseball.”

“He has a foundation of plate discipline and contact, and then you’re projecting on the power, which will improve as he continues to refine his approach and learns what pitches he can drive and what ones he can’t.

“When you combine that with the speed and defense, it’s just a really nice player.”

Rada bats and throws lefthanded. He posted a .446 on-base percentage in his 2022 pro debut in the Dominican Summer League.

The Angels didn’t hesitate to start him at Low-A Inland Empire this season when the 17-year-old was the youngest player on an Opening Day roster. He turned 18 on Aug. 24.

Rada hit .276/.396/.346 with two home runs in 115 games. He led the California League with 55 stolen bases and 94 runs. He ranked second with 121 hits and third with 73 walks.

Rada helped Inland Empire rebound from a brutal 4-17 start to finish 68-61 and earn a Cal League playoff berth.

“This is about individual development and group development,” Prebynski said, “and looking at where this Inland Empire group is at, we believe there’s value in players learning how to win individually and collectively.”

“He’s a guy who is going to impact the game on both sides of the ball.”

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