Reporting from Oakland — The Angels went down to Georgia for all three of their first-round selections in Monday's draft, using their top pick on an athletic switch-hitting third baseman who, not surprisingly, aspires to be the next Chipper Jones.
Kaleb Cowart, the 18th overall pick, hit .654 with 11 home runs, 59 runs batted in, 55 runs and 36 stolen bases in 36 attempts for Cook County High in Adel, Ga.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, who also went 10-1 with a 1.05 earned-run average and 116 strikeouts in 73 innings, was named Gatorade national high school player of the year.
Asked on a conference call what major league player he would compare himself to, Cowart did not hesitate in choosing Jones, the Atlanta Braves star and probable Hall of Famer.
"Because we both switch-hit and play third base," Cowart said. "I think one day I can be as good as that. I hope one day to mature into as great a player as he is."
With the 29th overall pick, the Angels chose Cameron Bedrosian, a pitcher from East Coweta High in Sharpsburg, Ga., and the son of 1987 National League Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian.
Bedrosian, a 5-11, 190-pound right-hander, went 8-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 58 innings. He has signed a letter of intent with Louisiana State.
The Angels, who had five of the top 40 picks, used the 30th overall selection on Chevez Clarke, a 6-foot, 195-pound outfielder who hit .403 with five homers and 14 RBIs for Marietta (Ga.) High. Clarke has signed a letter of intent with Georgia Tech.
The Angels used their two compensation picks after the first round on Taylor Lindsey, a shortstop from Desert Mountain High in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Ryan Bolden, a center fielder from Madison (Miss.) Central High. Lindsey was the 37th overall pick; Bolden was the 40th pick.
Cowart, who signed a letter of intent with Florida State, is reportedly seeking a signing bonus in the $3-million range. The 18th pick of the 2009 draft, high school pitcher Chad James, signed with the Florida Marlins for $1.7 million.
Cowart informed teams that he wanted to be drafted as a third baseman "because I'd love to play every day," he said. "But if it doesn't work out a few years down the road and I'm struggling, I could always move to the mound."
Cowart said he has more power from the left side and is more of a line-drive hitter from the right side. He has a strong arm and decent speed.
"I feel like I'm a baseball player," Cowart said. "I love to play the game. I have a passion for the game. I feel like I can be an everyday third baseman for a major league club."
The anxiety and nervousness Cowart felt before the draft was replaced by excitement when he heard his name called on national television.
"It was overwhelming," Cowart said. "I've been dreaming about this day since I was a little kid. It's definitely surreal to be in this position, to be given the opportunity to be a major league baseball player. I've worked my entire life for this."
Reliever Brian Stokes, on the disabled list because of shoulder fatigue, has been shut down because of shoulder stiffness and was examined Monday by Dr. Lewis Yocum, the team physician. . . . Maicer Izturis (tightness behind his right knee) sat out for a second straight game Monday, but the infielder said he would play Tuesday night.
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