PHOENIX -- Angels prospect Kaleb Cowart could be taking classes in college right now, but instead he's enrolled in a big league learning experience. Cowart, just 20 years old, is taking in the sights and sounds of Spring Training and getting used to being teammates with guys like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
For Cowart, a former first-round draft pick, every day is another chance to prove he belongs in elite company. His locker is nestled in the corner of the home clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, giving Cowart a chance to observe his more celebrated teammates going about their business.
"I take it as a learning experience," said Cowart, a third baseman who is considered one of the Angels' top offensive prospects. "It's really cool to be around some of these guys that are so accomplished in the big leagues. I just consider it a tremendous honor. I'm really pumped to be here."
And why wouldn't he be? Cowart, the 18th overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, spent most of his time working with the team's Minor Leaguers last season. Now, coming off a season that saw him reach the Class A California League, Cowart is rubbing elbows with All-Stars.
Cowart singled out Hamilton and Mike Trout as players who have been willing to help him get comfortable, but he also said that he hasn't really had time to get star-struck.
"I came up a little bit last year in the games during Spring Training, so it's not overwhelming," said Cowart. "It's different at first, but they're guys just like we are. They're good, humble guys, and you couldn't ask for a better clubhouse. I talk to most of them. Real good guys."
Cowart can draw inspiration from Trout's success, especially since the outfielder is just 10 months older than him. But not everybody can transition from prospect to All-Star as quickly as Trout, and Cowart said that he just needs time and maturation in order to make the leap.
"Consistency. Experience," he said of his peers. "They know what they're doing on the mental side. They've been at it a lot longer than I have. I can't wait to be one of those guys one day."
Cowart is a career .275 hitter in the Minor Leagues, and he'll likely add power as he progresses through the upper levels of the farm system. And if you ask Angels manager Mike Scioscia for first impressions of Cowart, he'll tell you that the youngster has turned heads in his own way.
"His makeup is off the charts," he said. "He's much beyond his years, much like Mike Trout was, much like some of the other young players we've had. He's a very confident kid. You can see it every day. His confidence keeps growing because he's playing with the big boys and holding his own."