The Angels reached agreement with first-round pick Sean Newcomb on a signing bonus of $2.518 million Friday morning, just hours before a 2 p.m. PDT deadline to secure picks from the June draft.
Newcomb, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound left-hander from the University of Hartford, was not projected as a first-round pick before his junior year, but he improved dramatically throughout a season in which he went 8-2 with a 1.25 earned-run average and 106 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings.
Scouting director Ric Wilson said Newcomb, who mixes a fastball that sits in the 93-95-mph range and has touched 98 mph with a curve, slider and changeup, "looks a little like Jon Lester," the Boston Red Sox ace. The Angels nabbed Newcomb with the 15th overall pick.
"We didn't expect him to get to us at 15, but somehow, some way, he got to us, and we're thankful," Wilson said on the night of the draft. "He's a big kid with a good delivery. His arm works easy. He has a mid-90s fastball, he spins a nice breaking ball, he commands the strike zone, and he keeps getting better."
MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds predicted on draft night that Newcomb would "be the first guy in this draft to get to the big leagues," even suggesting Newcomb could help the Angels this season.
Wilson said that projection was a little ambitious, but it's clear the Angels, an organization with little starting pitching depth, are high on Newcomb, who received $43,000 more than his suggested slot value of $2.475 million.
"He's a college kid, but he's just starting to find out who he is," Wilson said. "I think once he gets out and gets going, there's no telling what he could do."