Just as Drew Storen did when he was the 10th overall pick in the 2009 major league draft, former Virginia Military Institute standout Cory Spangenberg didn’t waste any time after being selected in the same spot. Less than a month after the draft, the San Diego Padres second base prospect is hitting .436 through 12 games in the short-season Class A Northwest League.
Spangenberg, the first of the top 10 picks to sign this year, took a $1.863 million bonus after spending one year at VMI and this past season at Indian River State College, a junior college in Fort Pierce, Fla. He was the Big South Conference freshman of the year in 2010 before transferring.
“It really wasn’t about the draft at all,” Spangenberg told the San Diego Union-Tribune of his decision to leave VMI. “The military aspect took up a lot of time, and I couldn’t concentrate on my studies and I couldn’t put in as much time as I wanted to in baseball.”
Like Storen, the Washington Nationals closer who achieved his goal of getting on a fast track to the major leagues, Spangenberg wanted to begin his professional career as quickly as possible. Storen, a rare draft-eligible sophomore from a four-year school, signed for $1.6 million out of Stanford.
This year’s signing deadline is Aug. 15. Of the six first-round picks who already have signed, Spangenberg received the richest bonus, but he’s still seen as something of a “signability” pick. That view may be changing for the speedster from Clarks Summit, Pa., who has walked 16 times and struck out only five times in 39 at-bats. He has a .603 on-base percentage and .641 slugging percentage for the Eugene Emeralds.