Two Draft Picks Unlikely to Sign

Orange County Register beat writer Bill Plunkett reports the Angels met the asking price of two top draft picks, yet they’re unlikely to sign.

As the midnight deadline for teams to sign their 2008 draft picks approached Friday, Angels director of scouting Eddie Bane was prepared to lose two of the team’s top five selections without compensation.

The Angels have been unable to reach contract agreements with third-round sandwich pick Zach Cone (an outfielder from Stone Mountain, Ga.) and fifth-round pick Khiry Cooper (an outfielder from Bossier City, La.) despite having “met their price,” Bane said.

“We have offers on the table to both but don’t expect to get it done,” Bane said. “I could sugarcoat it but they both agreed in principle to terms and then changed their minds.

“I don’t understand it. But I know it happens.”

Before he was drafted, Cooper had signed a letter of intent to attend Nebraska and play baseball and football. Cone appears headed to Georgia to play baseball.

“We met his asking price twice,” Bane said of Cone. “We increased our original offer substantially to what he was asking. Both parents said, ‘OK, that’s enough’ and encouraged him to sign. The young man still said no.”

Top pick Tyler Chatwood, selected in the 2nd round, has allowed no runs in his last two starts for the Tempe Angels, but his SO:BB ratio is still horrific — 24:26 in 25.2 IP.

Third round pick Ryan Chaffee is still disabled by the broken foot suffered before the draft. No ETA.

The aforementioned Zach Cone, a supplemental third-round pick, seems unlikely to sign.

Fourth round pick Buddy Boshers has a 3.03 ERA in 29.2 IP for the Orem Owlz with a 27:13 SO:BB ratio and .207 AVG against.

Fifth round pick Khiry Cooper remains unsigned. Baseball America reported before the draft: “Cooper is best known for his football exploits, and he has signed a scholarship to play wide receiver at Nebraska. He also scored in double digits for Calvary’s basketball team. On the diamond, he’s a 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete who’s going to need plenty of time to develop. He has plus speed and power potential, but he also has a long swing and is extremely raw.”

Sixth round pick Josh Blanco has a 3.52 ERA in 38.1 IP for Tempe with a 41:17 SO:BB ratio. He’s worked mostly out of the bullpen.

Seventh round pick Will Smith is 6-2 with a 3.17 ERA in 54.0 IP for Orem. He has a 54:5 SO:BB ratio and a .258 AVG against. The 6’5″ 19-year old lefty might be a sleeper for this November’s Top 10 Prospects Report, but I want to see him pitch myself first. If not during Orem’s post-season, perhaps in fall ball.

Eighth round pick Christian Scholl has a 2.08 ERA in 17 relief appearances (34.2 IP) for the Owlz. He has a 34:13 SO:BB ratio and .190 AVG against.

Ninth round pick Nick Farnsworth has an AVG/OBP/SLG of .291/.358/.500 playing first base for Tempe. He’s tied for second in the Arizona League for doubles with 12 and his third in RBI at 35. His .500 SLG ranks 11th.

Tenth round pick Gabe Jacobo hits .327/.372/.600 in 150 AB for Orem before a promotion to Low-A Cedar rapids. After 67 AB in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League, his line is .299/.333/.463. At age 21, the Midwest League is a more appropriate test for him.

I’m backed up a good six months on photos. My other project is dormant for a little while, so I’ll try to do some catching up in the next week. I’m working on Orem photos now, and will start on Tempe thereafter.

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