A left-handed hitting SS, Cole was a standout player throughout his amateur career, often being recognized for his baseball instincts and gamer mentality. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as Cole's father, Bien Figueroa, spent time as a Major League player and minor league manager. At the plate Cole has shown an advanced feel for hitting with a nice combination of strike zone discipline, bat control, and power. As a 20-year old sophomore this spring (he turned 21 at the end of June which is what made him eligible for the draft), Cole hit .350/.424/.534 while also stealing 20 bags in 24 attempts.
Since Cole was a sophomore eligible in the draft, he had been playing in the Cape Cod League for the second consecutive summer. When he left the Cape to sign with us he was in the midst of an eight game hitting streak and was hitting .306 in July.
When we selected Cole in the 6th round, we were fully aware that he was not a 6th round talent and therefore would not sign for 6th round money. In fact, Cole had turned down significant money after being drafted out of high school in order to attend Florida, and he had plenty of reasons to return to Florida for his junior season. However, our area scout, Rob Sidwell, had done an excellent job in understanding what it was going to take to sign Cole, and we decided he was well worth the investment.
At 6'5", 235 lbs, Matt has been a top prospect since his days at Etiwanda HS. After being ranked as a top 200 prospect by Baseball America in high school, Matt went to Riverside Community College where he was first-team All-Southern California, All-California, JUCO All-American, and MVP of the California State Tournament. All of these accomplishments got Matt drafted again in 2007, but he elected to attend LSU.
This decision appears to have been a good one, as Matt hit .344 with a whopping 28 home runs in 227 at-bats for LSU this season. Furthemore, Matt's LSU squad qualified for the College World Series and during one stretch won 26 out of 29 games.
As in Cole Figueroa's case, we knew that Matt's expectations were greater than 12th round money. Once again, however, we believe in his talent and are happy to sign him for a bigger bonus that his draft position would indicate. As I wrote during the draft, we were focused on taking the most talented players available regardless of signability, so we're very excited to add both of these players into our system.
For more on our draft, check out Grady Fuson's interview on the new Padres Channel.