Best-case scenario, the Angels have uncovered a player along the lines of Chipper Jones. Scenarios don't get much better than that.
With the 18th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, the Angels selected third baseman Kaleb Cowart of Cook county (Ga.) High School in Adel, Ga., an athlete who also has the tools to pitch.
Represented by former first baseman and Georgian Wally Joyner at the event, the Angels followed in their first-round bonanza with two more high school stars from Georgia: pitcher Cameron Bedrosian of East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg and center fielder Chevez "Chevy" Clarke of Marrieta.
Wrapping up a Draft day bounty rich in quality athletes, the Angels used a pair of supplemental first-round choices to take shortstop Taylor Lindsey of Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., and center fielder Ryan Bolden of Madison (Miss.) Central High School.
"The Angels picked me, and I couldn't be happier," Cowart said.
Cowart, at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, is the 2010 Gatorade High School Player of the Year. His numbers this season are off the charts: .654 batting average (second highest in state history) with 11 homers, 59 RBIs and 36 steals without getting caught. A Florida State University signee, he was 10-1 with a 1.05 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 73 innings.
"We are thrilled to have a player of Kaleb's caliber," Angels scouting director Eddie Bane said. "His skills are matched by his intensity for the game, and we look forward to his advancement in our system."
The Angels have shown a desire to stock up on power, an area of organizational need, along with swift athletes. Cowart, who turned 18 on June 2, would love to make good on the comparisons with the Atlanta Braves' superstar.
"I'd say Chipper Jones," Cowart said on a conference call when asked to identify his role model. "We're both switch-hitters and we both play third base. One day I hope I can mature into as great a baseball player as he is."
On the mound, the comparisons have been to Jake Peavy. Cowart throws 91-94 mph, touching 95, with a developing slider and changeup.
Bedrosian, the son of 1987 National League Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian, competed at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, Ga. A hard thrower in the image of his dad, a feared closer, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound right-hander posted an 8-1 record and a 1.44 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 58 innings. Bedrosian has signed a letter-of-intent to play at LSU.
Clarke, who is 6-foot, 185 pounds, signed a letter-of-intent to play baseball at Georgia Tech. He batted .403 with five home runs, 14 RBIs and 17 stolen bases this season at Marietta (Ga.) High School.
"In Bedrosian, we like all the tools he is equipped with to succeed as a big league pitcher and of course,
the bloodlines are there," said Bane. "Clarke is a tremendous all-around athlete who we are extremely excited about."
The Angels were awarded the selection that they turned into Cowart as compensation for losing Type A free agent Chone Figgins to Seattle. They also drew the 40th overall pick in the supplemental first round for Figgins, which they used to snap up Bolden.
Boston's signing of Type A free agent John Lackey had the 29th overall pick in the first round (Bedrosian) and No. 37 in the supplemental round (Lindsey) going to the Angels.
The Angels also had their own pick at No. 30 in the opening round (Clarke), giving them three of the top 30 selections in the Draft.
The Angels own three more picks among the top 115 through the third supplemental round: 81, 111 and 115.
They used their two first-round picks last season on outfielders Randal Grichuk and Michael Trout, who are now teammates at Class A Cedar Rapids. Their three compensation round picks were used on pitchers Tyler Skaggs, Garrett Richards and Tyler Kehrer, also at Cedar Rapids.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.