Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Washington Nationals have signed right-hander A.J. Cole, the club’s fourth-round draft pick in 2010. Cole, a 6-5 high school talent, was set to attend the baseball hotbed that is the University of Miami, but the club was able to lure him away with a way above slot bonus of $2 million.
Cole was considered one of the higher potential pitchers in the 2010 draft, but also arguably the least signable, which is why he slipped to the fourth round. General Manager Mike Rizzo decided to take a chance by selecting him in an early round, and was able to convince Cole that Washington was a good place to build a future.
According to scouting reports, Cole’s biggest asset is his massive potential. While his fastball currently sits in the low 90’s (good for a high schooler), scouts project it to reach the mid-to-high 90’s when he fully develops. He also reportedly throws an curve in the high 70’s and is developing a change-up and a slider.
The Nationals have also reportedly signed left-handed starter Sammy Solis out of the University of San Diego. Solis, the clubs second-round pick in 2010 signed for a $1 million bonus.
Solis provides a low 90’s fastball with a lot of movement and was thought to be a potential top ten pick coming out of high-school. He also throws a big, looping left-handed curve and a change-up. His history of back issues cause some to worry that he may not make it through the minors, but if he can stay healthy people believe he projects to be a mid to back of the rotation starter.