It would take a lot of guts (and some would say, a lack of smarts) to turn down a $1 million signing bonus from a major-league baseball team. We’re not endorsing for high school baseball players to go pro over college, but that’s what happens with the majority when they are drafted in the first round. Click here to read Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall on HS first rounders.
Back to the story: Florida State has never had a baseball recruit drafted in the first round and report to college, according to Tallahassee.com.
Cook High’s Kaleb Cowart, drafted No. 18 overall by the Los Angeles Angeles, could be the first to bypass seven digits to be a Seminole.
Why do I say that? It’s just a gut feeling I’ve had about Cowart after talking with him over the past month — even before the MLB Draft. A few major-league scouting directors apparently felt the same way, causing speculation that Cowart “fell” to No. 18 because of “signability” (reportedly seeks $3 million bonus) and his desire to play third base rather than pitch with his 97 mph fastball.
There are a few things favoring FSU with Cowart: It’s his dream school and a short drive from his hometown of Adel, allowing friends and family members to attend games. FSU has one of the nation’s most successful programs, playing in the College World Series on Saturday. Cowart seems to really value the “college life experience.”
Working against FSU is that Cowart is not likely to be drafted any higher in three or four years. Not impossible, but unlikely. The Angels have also scored points by making it clear they support his desire to be a position player rather than pitch.
The Angels have to be a little nervous after Cowart went to three days of FSU orientation this week. ”It was a blast,” Cowart told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I enjoyed every bit of it … It lets you see what you would be missing out on with the college life.”
Cowart also got to visit with Florida State coach Mike Martin before the team departed for Omaha. “It went good. We just talked about the draft and stuff like that. He understands, if it works out with the Angels. If not, he would be more than happy for me to come to school. We’re just going to wait and see how it goes.”
And how is it going with negotiations between Cowart’s advisors and the Angels? Which way is Cowart leaning? “It’s still up in the air right now. We’re not leaning one way or the other. It’s split down the middle.”
Could Cowart’s affection for FSU be a negotiating ploy? After all, that tactic is commonly used by high school players to get more zeros on the bonus. But I don’t get that same feeling about Cowart. I really think he is going to let things work out as they may, whether it means FSU or LA.
The Angels have an Aug. 16 deadline to sign Cowart, who has shut down his baseball for the summer while doing light workouts to stay in shape.
My guess? I feel like Cowart is about to make some FSU history.
What will Kaleb do? Please make YOUR prediction below, and give your reason for it.