Stoked To Be A Halo

Angels first-rounder Kaleb Cowart is a good fit in SoCal





ANAHEIM—The kid may have grown up in Georgia, but he has the California surfer lingo down pat.

"To be considered a professional athlete is every kid's dream," Kaleb Cowart said. "I'm stoked."

The Angels signed Cowart, their top pick in this year's draft (18th overall), on the final day of the signing period. Major League Baseball's recommended bonus for his slot was $1.4 million, and his rumored bonus demand was $3 million, but he signed for $2.3 million.

"It was right where I was looking to go," Cowart said.

The signing of Cowart completed what the Angels hope was a restocking of a farm system that has struggled to fill the needs of this year's major league club. The Angels had five of the first 48 picks last year and five of the first 40 this year. They signed all 10 of the players in question, for a combined $10.3 million.

One of last year's picks, outfielder Mike Trout, already has established himself as the Angels' top prospect. He played in the Futures Game at Angel Stadium. Another, lefthander Tyler Skaggs, was the key prospect in the four-player package the Angels sent to the Diamondbacks for ace Dan Haren.

Cowart, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound switch-hitter, batted .654 in 107 at-bats as a high school senior this spring, with 11 home runs and 36 stolen bases. He also went 10-1, 1.05, with 116 strikeouts in 73 innings, but the Angels took him as a third baseman, his preferred position.

In signing with the Angels, Cowart passed on a scholarship to Florida State—and in so doing impressed scouting director Eddie Bane.

"When he said he wanted to call Florida State and he wanted his mother and father to leave the room, I had never seen that," Bane said. "Usually it's, 'Dad, can you make the call for me?'

"That's a pretty grown-up 18-year-old guy."

ANGEL FOOD

• The Angels, insisting they have not given up on one-time top prospect Brandon Wood, assigned him to the Arizona Fall League. Wood, who went five weeks in July and August without starting a game, was batting .163/.180/.219 through 178 at-bats. The infielder is out of options.

• The Angels promoted outfielder Tyson Auer to Triple-A Salt Lake. Auer, 24, signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2008 out of Central Florida and has jumped from high Class A Rancho Cucamonga to Double-A Arkansas to Salt Lake this season, batting .317/.373/.422 with 53 stolen bases.