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.