Breaking News: Georgia baseball first-rounder signs with LA Angels only hours before deadline (Updated)

Kaleb Cowart (Gatorade)

Kaleb Cowart (Gatorade)

The last of the five Georgia high schoolers selected in the first round of the baseball draft has signed a professional contract.

Cook High third baseman Kaleb Cowart signed a contract with the LA Angels, only hours before the Monday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline.

“I just felt like it was the right move,” Cowart said. “I prayed about it and I feel like this is what God wants me to do.”

Cowart, drafted No. 18 overall by the Angels, reportedly signed for bonus of $2.3 million.

“We got close to the money figure,” Cowart said. “We just kept talking money. I had a price out there, and they got relatively close to it. That’s just life-changing money and I couldn’t turn that down.”

Cowart was one of three first-rounders drafted by the Angels in the first round, along with East Coweta pitcher Cam Bedrosian and Marietta outfielder Chevez Clarke. By signing with the Angels, Cowart bypassed his baseball scholarship to Florida State.

“There was a lot of anticipation — I didn’t know if it was going to get done,” Cowart said. “I’m excited to join the Angels’ family. It was hard to tell the Florida State coaches that I wasn’t going there.

“It just so happened that I was blessed to be able to play pro ball out of high school. Not everyone has that opportunity. Sometimes I wish you could go to college for a year like basketball, but it’s not like that.”

The deal was reached after four days of face-to-face meetings with Angels’ officials in Anaheim. Cowart signed his contract on Monday, met with the media for a press conference a couple of hours later, and then caught an evening flight to Tempe, Ariz. He will work out with the rookie-league team for two weeks, return home for two weeks, and then report back to Arizona for instructional league.

The Angels’ scouting director, Eddie Bane, gave props to Cowart for negotiations. “When he wanted to say something, he said it, he didn’t need someone to say it for him. … I had never seen that. That’s a pretty grown-up 18-year-old guy.”

The rest of Georgia’s “Fab Five” — the five Georgia high schoolers selected in the first round of the June major-league draft — were Woodward Academy infielder Delino DeShields (No. 8 to Astros), Blessed Trinity outfielder Jake Skole (No. 15 to Rangers), Bedrosian ( No. 29) and Clarke (No. 30). All signed with their respective teams.

Cowart was considered a first-round prospect at both pitcher and an infielder, making it clear before the draft that he  preferred to be an every-day player at third base. He was named Gatorade National High School Baseball Player of the Year after his senior season at Cook, leading his team to the state championship series.

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7 comments Add your comment

FS WHO?

August 16th, 2010
2:37 pm

Burdell

August 16th, 2010
2:47 pm

I guess the kid would rather pay for his own shoes…

SportsFan31313

August 16th, 2010
2:57 pm

Congratulations Kid……

lohornetguard

August 16th, 2010
3:23 pm

Smart move!! Money in the bank. This was a once in a lifetime chance. Anything could happen with injuries and the opportunity would have been lost. Best Wishes Kaleb, make Cook county proud.

TTTT-Thumbody Thed Thats Thupid!

August 16th, 2010
6:33 pm

Nice to know the Braves went out and got one of these top 5. Oh, wait a minute, they didn’t did they! Wonder why? Also someone needs to tell Mr. Cowart that God could care less whether he goes pro or goes to college. I think he has more important matters to be involved with. He cares about your personal life, but not whether or not you play baseball. He would be just as happy if you worked at WalMart, as long as you believe in him and dedicate your life to him. All these athletes just kill me that think they are “ordained by God” to play sports, even if they make money at it.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

DJMoney

August 17th, 2010
3:31 pm

Congrats Kaleb, I am sure you will do all of us proud. I have seen you play several timea and every time you were a class act. Nothing seemed to bother you. Reading this article I see that wasn’t an accident. By the way you are wearing the WRONG “A” . Would have loved to see you in Atlanta.