If you had told me at the beginning of the day that the Nationals would hand out a record breaking contract to one of their draftees today, I would have assumed that it would be given to Bryce Harper. Well, the Nationals have already inked that big deal, and the top-pick Harper remains unsigned.
The Nationals signed A.J. Cole, their hard-throwing fourth round pick out of Oviedo, Florida, to a contract that featured a $2 million signing bonus; the highest ever given out to a player picked in that round. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has some more information on Cole.
Cole, 18, a 6-foot-5 right-hander from Oviedo High in Florida, had a commitment to the University of Miami. He had the talent to picked in the first round, but fell in the draft over concern of how much it would cost to sign. Baseball America ranked Cole the No. 16 prospect before the draft after he struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings this season.
Let’s hope the Nationals aren’t done, and this isn’t the only contract agreement they reach by the end of the day.
Cole broke the fourth-round bonus record of $1.5 million set by Athletics catcher Max Stassi a year ago. Cole and Solis received the first two seven-figure bonuses given to 2010 draftees after the supplemental first round. MLB's recommendations for their draft slots were $694,800 for Solis (No. 51 overall) and $258,300 for Cole (No. 116).