L.A. Angels sign St. Croix’s James Sneed


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A minor car accident may have sidelined local baseball player James Sneed for the Central American and Caribbean Games last month, but it wasn’t going to slow his emergence into Major League Baseball.
 
Sneed, a Frederiksted native and a recent Educational Complex graduate, signed a professional baseball contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Friday after being drafted by the organization in the 14th round (444th overall) of the 2010 MLB Draft in June.
 
Sneed reported to Mesa, Arizona, this weekend, which is where the Angels’ Rookie League affiliate plays in the Arizona League. He could not be reached for comment.
 
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound center fielder injured tendons in his right non-throwing hand during a car accident on St. Croix two days after he was drafted. But he spent the last two months rehabilitating his hand and has fully recovered from the injury.
 
“I think the Angels knew it was not a major injury and that he would recover,” said V.I. Future Stars founder Darren Canton, who played a role in the scouting process. “Anaheim had the exact same interest in James before and after the accident.”
 
Sneed was working out with the USVI baseball national team during the time of the accident but the squad went to Puerto Rico for the CAC Games without him.
 
Sneed’s signing bonus is close to $90,000, Canton said, and the Angels have included college scholarship incentives so he can attend classes during the offseason.
 
Sneed became the fourth V.I. baseball player — and second right out of high school — to sign a professional contract in the last three months.
 
Jabari Blash, a Miami Dade Community College sophomore, signed with the Seattle Mariners on July 23. Akeel Morris, a recent Charlotte Amalie High School graduate, signed with the New York Mets on June 14 and Western Oklahoma State College product Jamaine Cotton, an Ivanna Eudora Kean High School graduate, signed with the Houston Astros on June 11.
 
Even though Sneed was drafted in June, he had until Aug. 15 to negotiate a contract.
 
“The high school players from the V.I. are getting better and better and the pro scouts are starting to take notice,” Canton said. “We’re trying our best to prepare them for the pros and we’re also encouraging them to really think about these offers. James is ready and we are all excited for him.”
 
— Contact sports reporter Aaron Gray at 774-8772 ext. 352 or e-mail agray@dailynews.vi.

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