Still waiting to hear his name, Caden Dana spoke with the Los Angeles Angels after the second day of the MLB Draft.
On Monday night, the American League club brought up the idea of not only drafting the Don Bosco Prep right-hander on the third and final day but also taking his older brother, Casey.
The younger Dana didn’t tell his brother about the conversation, leaving it to fate.
As it turned out, the Angels followed through on the stage. They took Caden in the 11th round and added his brother to him, an outfielder who played this past season at UConn, in the 16th.
Call it a match made in heaven.
“As soon as I heard them talking about my brother and making him money, too, that’s when I kind of freaked out. I have to take this. I’m so glad that I get to play in the same organization as my brother,” Caden told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday night.
On Friday, the Angels and the Dana brothers came to terms on deals. They are scheduled to fly out to Arizona on Saturday and sign on Sunday at the team’s facility in Tempe.
According to Jim Callis of MLB.com, Caden agreed to a deal worth $1,497,500. It’s a record for an 11th-round pick, the most ever after the 10th round in the pool era – with $1,372,500 counting against the Angels’ bonus pool.
The Kentucky commit was selected No. 329 overall after coming into the draft ranked as the No. 119 prospect by MLB.com.
“To be honest, it was just a great opportunity thrown in my direction and I knew it was the right move once I heard my brother’s name called as well,” Caden said via text Friday night. “So excited to get started with this amazing organization and help this team win many more World Series.”
Mike Rooney coached both brothers at Don Bosco Prep.
“It’s incredible,” Rooney told NJ Advance Media earlier in the week. “How many kids are lying in their room that they are sharing with their brother when they are younger talking about playing professional baseball, and then they put the icing on the cake and say something like, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we’ re on the same team?’ And now you think that’s a possibility for these guys, and it’s fantastic. They are so deserving of not just the opportunity but so deserving of the really unique opportunity that’s in front of them. I’m just incredibly proud to be associated with them.”
An All-State selection, Caden Dana helped Don Bosco Prep win the Non-Public A title and finish No. 1 in the state rankings. He was the 10th player to be drafted directly out of DBP, the last being Tommy Burns. The righty was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 34th round of the 2012 draft.
Dana said the journey from getting his name out there to being drafted was “the smoothest ride ever.”
“A few ups and downs here and there, but I give all thanks to Bosco for giving me all I needed,” he said prior to the draft. “It all started with trying to get my name out there, get recruited by some schools. Once I had a path with Kentucky, I knew there was more I had to get better at. I put my head down and took it one step at a time.”
The Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year, Dana brings a physical presence to the mound at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. He went 5-1 with 70 strikeouts and a 1.33 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. Dana picked up the save in the state championship against St. Augustine, striking out three and allowing one hit in three innings. I have fanned a season-high 11 batters on three occasions.
Also a Don Bosco Prep graduate, Casey Dana started his college career at Seton Hall. He hit .364 in the team’s first 14 games before the pandemic canceled the 2020 season. Dana played one more season for the Pirates before transferring to UConn, where he hit .313 with a team-leading 12 home runs this past spring en route to All-Big East first-team honors.
“Nothing is guaranteed, but I hope a team gives me a good opportunity to show my talents at the next level. That’s all I’m wishing for right now; hoping something good will happen,” Caden Dana said prior to the draft. “The best outcome would be for me and my brother getting phone calls that day. I just want the best outcome for both of us.”
On Friday, it became a done deal.
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Kevin Minnick covers South Jersey baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @kminnicksports