The Los Angeles Angels went well above the guidelines of Major League Baseball to sign their top pick, agreeing to terms with No. 18 overall selection Kaleb Cowart on Monday for nearly $900,000 over "slot." Cowart let it be known he was looking for more than $2 million and received $2.3 million.
The number MLB recommends for that spot in the draft is around $1.4 million, but Cowart had the option of attending Florida State as leverage.
Angels scouting director Eddie Bane said last week that Cowart's forthright demands actually helped move the process along. The Angels announced Monday morning that he would sign, 10 hours before the midnight deadline to sign picks. Most high-profile picks take until the final hours, or even minutes, to sign.
"Kaleb has the ability to speak for himself, unlike a lot of amateur kids who don't want to talk for themselves," Bane said. "That helps. Good for him, a young man who knows what he wants to do and isn't afraid of expectations."
Several teams wanted to draft Cowart, who has been clocked throwing as high as 97 mph, as a pitcher, but Bane said he changed his approach after watching Cowart bat. A switch-hitter, the third baseman batted .654 with 11 home runs, 59 RBIs and 36 stolen bases for Cook County High in Adel, Ga.
"He will add to the talented pieces already in our farm system and will play a large role in the future success of the Angels," Bane said in a statement.
Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.