Angels believe first-rounder Cowart will sign

Angels believe first-rounder Cowart will sign

ANAHEIM -- The Angels are doing everything in their power to make an Angel of Kaleb Cowart, their top pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

It appears to be coming down to final hours of Monday, to the 8:59 p.m. PT deadline, on the last day they can sign him without forfeiting the pick. Should that happen, they are awarded a choice in the supplemental round of the 2011 Draft.

Scouting director Eddie Bane said the club is "fairly close" to reaching agreement with Cowart, a swift, power-hitting third baseman from Georgia. He has has the right stuff by most evaluations to be a quality pitcher, but is determined to be an everyday player -- a commitment the Angels are more than willing to honor, looking at him as an athlete with tremendous upside.

"I've said all along we think we're going to sign him," Bane said.

Cowart, the 18th overall pick in the Draft, is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. He starred at Cook County High School in Adel, Ga., and signed a letter-of-intent with Florida State. Cowart is believed to be seeking a bonus in excess of $2 million with the Angels offering at least $1.5 million.

The Angels have signed all their other premium picks, including pitcher Cameron Bedrosian (29th overall), center fielder Chevy Clarke (30), infielder Taylor Lindsey (37) and center fielder Ryan Bolden (40).

"The Angels picked me, and I couldn't be happier," Cowart said immediately following his selection.

Also hailing from Georgia are Bedrosian of East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg and Clarke, of Marrieta.

Cowart is the 2010 Gatorade High School Player of the Year. His numbers this season are off the charts: .654 batting average (second highest in state history) with 11 homers, 59 RBIs and 36 steals without getting caught. A Florida State University signee, he was 10-1 with a 1.05 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 73 innings.

"His skills are matched by his intensity for the game," Bane said.

The Angels have shown a desire to stock up on power, an area of organizational need. Cowart, who turned 18 on June 2, said he'd love to make good on the comparisons with a certain Atlanta Braves superstar.

"I'd say Chipper Jones," Cowart said when asked to identify his role model. "We're both switch-hitters, and we both play third base. One day, I hope I can mature into as great a baseball player as he is."

On the mound, the comparisons have been to Jake Peavy. Cowart throws 91-94 mph, touching 95, with a developing slider and changeup.

The Angels were awarded this selection as part of the compensation for losing Type A free agent Chone Figgins to Seattle. They also drew the 40th overall pick, in the supplemental first round, for Figgins, and they used that to snap up Bolden.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.