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A.J. Cole: Nationals Sign High School Pitcher Against the Odds

Steven BielCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2010

The Nationals just signed fourth round pick A.J. Cole, who was not only the least likely top ten pick in their own draft to sign, but one of the least likely picks to sign in the whole 2010 draft.

Cole, a 6'5" right-hander, is a high school pitcher with first-round ability. He slid in the draft after showing some inconsistency and making a commitment to the University of Miami. Guys like this have a lot of incentive to go to school and improve their stock, so the Nationals probably weren't going to get him without paying him first-round money.

That they did, setting a fourth round record by signing Cole for $2 million. The MLB recommendation for that pick was $258,300.

The team also announced the above-slot signing of Sammy Solis. This is less of a surprise, but also good news. Solis is a left-handed college pitcher who signed for $1 million.

With Bryce Harper still to sign, these deals mean that the Nationals are very likely to be the highest-spending team in the draft for the second year in a row.

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