SHOW ME THE MONEY! Five Georgia high schoolers drafted in baseball’s first round
Shall we call them the Fab Five?
Who was No. 1 out of Georgia? DeShields (Brian Christian photo)
Georgia sent shockwaves across the baseball world when five homegrown products were selected in the first round of Monday’s major-league baseball draft. Three of the five were grabbed by the one team — the LA Angels
Here’s the roll call:
- No. 8, Houston Astros with Delino DeShields, 2B, Woodward Academy: It’s hard to live up to expectations when Baseball America tags you as the “Best 12-year old” in the country, but DeShields accomplished it — despite having the pressures of playing in the shadows of his father by the same name (but different middle name), who played in the majors for 13 seasons. DeShields was a lock to go to the Houston Astros but with the team’s second-round pick at No 19. However, DeShields blew Houston officials away with his private workout last Thursday, and the Astros knew he probably wouldn’t make it past the Toronto Blue Jays at No. 13. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound DeShields will start off as a second baseman in Houston’s organization.
- No. 15, Texas Rangers with Jake Skole, OF, Blessed Trinity: No player in the country saw his stock soar more in the last 3-4 weeks than Skole. The MLB.com crew called him “the biggest surprise, so far” after he was selected by the cash-strapped Rangers, who have file for bankruptcy and will be sold by mid-summer. Skole had a Hall of Fame performance in the state playoffs and made it clear that he was willing to walk away from his Georgia Tech football scholarship with a fair offer. There is pressure on the Rangers to get a deal done quickly because this was an “unprotected” pick at No. 15, awarded to the team after it failed to sign a first-rounder from last year. If Texas does not sign Skole, they will not get another first-round freebie for next year.
- No. 18, LA Angels with Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Cook HS: This is the pitcher who throws 97 mph, but preferred being drafted as a 3B. The Angels granted the wish, taking Cowart as a corner infielder. Negotiations could stretch into the summer, due to Cowart’s childhood dreams of playing baseball for Florida State. The Angels really helped their cause by drafting two fellow Georgians in the first round. All three are friends through summer baseball. Click here to see video of Cowart.
- No. 29, LA Angels with Cam Bedrosian, RHP, East Coweta HS: As the son of another famous ex-MLB player (1987 Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian), Bedrosian doesn’t need to money as much as others, so it will be interesting to watch the negotiations. Bedrosian, who throws 96 mph, has signed with LSU. Click here to see video of Bedrosian.
- No. 30, LA Angels with Chevez Clarke, OF, Marietta HS: The switch-hitter was No. 1 pro prospect in Georgia high schools entering his senior season. Scouts had concerns about his long-term potential as a power hitter, and there were rumors he could drop to the Atlanta Braves at No. 35. However, Clarke showed off his elite speed and defensive skills in workouts leading up to the draft, and closed out the first round for Georgia
And at least two other Peach State high schoolers, South Forsyth 2B Zach Alvord and Tattnall Square Academy RHP DeAndre Smelter, also reportedly got first-round consideration. Mill Creek pitcher Matthew Grimes (6-foot-6) could be drafted by the Braves at No. 53 on Tuesday.
Baseball scouts love Georgia. Said MLB.com’s Peter Gammons: “Georgia is, per capita, the best baseball state in the country [for high school talent].” MLB.com’s Harold Reynolds said East Cobb had the “best summer program in the country.” Skole and Cowart played together on Kevin Baldwin’s East Cobb Braves.
Georgia will soon have five new millionaires, if they opt to sign pro baseball contracts and bypass college. The deadline is Aug. 16. Last year, around 50 players signed for bonuses of $900,000 or more. The projected bonus for this year’s No. 32 pick is $954,000.