Player Profile: Zack Cozart
Why do we need an I.D. to buy a pack of cigarettes but I don't need one to vote?
Why hasn't a big league team asked me to work for them?
Why complain about $4 a gallon gas when you pay $4 for a 16 oz coffee?
Why don't hot women love me? I mean, come one now, I'm The Oracle.
Why do people think that Zack Cozart is an impressive offensive player?
You're probably only actually concerned with the last question.
Somehow people seem to think that Cozart is some sort of offensive dynamo, a notion which the data simply turns its nose up at. Strap in. Here we go.
During a five year run in the minors, 506 games worth of action, Cozart hit .270. Yippee. Cozart got on base at a .332 clip. Wowzahs. Cozart had a SLG of .421. Wow, I'm about to fall off my chair since that number is so impressive. Nothing, n-o-t-h-i-n-g, in that line should make anyone excited. The fact is the bat he flashed in the minors was the average man's average. Yes he did bat .310 as a 25 year old at Triple-A over 77 games in 2011, but that was the first time he showed anything significant as a hitter.
How did Cozart perform last year with the Reds? Stop me if you've just read this, but he was average. In fact, a strong argument can be put forward that he wasn't average – he was actually worse than that.
Cozart hit .246 in '12 and owns a .251 career batting average. Last season baseball as a whole hit .255. He's below “average” in the average category. He did post a league average line drive rate of 20 percent, and his BABIP was just a smidge below that league average at .282. He deserved that batting average, especially when you look over at the BB/K column and see a mark of 0.27, two tenths below the league average. Face it, he wasn't, nor is he likely to be in 2013, a batting average booster.
Cozart hit 15 homers, and for a shortstop that is a solid total, one that was bettered by only seven shortstop eligible players (Ian Desmond led the way with 25). Still, I'm calling average here yet again. Cozart had a 38 percent fly ball rate and an 8.8 HR/F ratio. The big league averagesa are usually about 36 and nine. Cozart did hit 33 doubles, a solid total, but his SLG was still .399, a terrible number that was once again below the big league average of .405. Not much to see here again.
Cozart drove in 35 runs. Thirty-five. That's one less than Yuniesky Betancourt who appeared in 57 games and two less than Josh Rutledge who took the field 73 times. To compare, Cozart appeared in 138 games, eight more than the total of the other two players combined. Cozart and Ben Revere were the only two players in baseball with 500 at-bats and 35 or fewer RBIs (Revere had 32 RBIs in 511 at-bats).
Cozart scored 72 times, a fairly impressive numbers for a guy with a pathetic .288 OBP (a number that a professional baseball player should be embarrassed to have on the back of his ball card. The major league average was .319 last season). The run total was 10th among shortstops qualifiers in the fantasy game. Blame the lack of RBIs on the fact that he appeared 102 times as a leadoff hitter and 27 times out of the #2 hole. Conversely, the reason he scored so many runs was merely because of his spot in the batting order. There are many reasons to be worried about Dusty Baker if you are a Reds fan, and this is one of the best examples. Your manager hit a guy with a .288 OBP first or second in your order 129 times. That's unacceptable. It's also embarrassing. How someone could rise to the level of manager and have no concept of how to put together a batting order is truly shocking. Best case Cozart should have been hitting 7th, but ideally he'd be the 8th place hitter with the effort he put up there last season. You can't even defend the decision by saying Cozart's speed causes problem for defenses. It doesn't. He stole only four bags in 2012.
Nothing Cozart does stands out. Zack Cozart has only 149 games of big league experience, but he's already 27 years old. He showed little with the bat in the minor leagues, and he continued to perform along those same lines last season. He was also exceedingly fortunate to have a manager with no understanding of how the game of baseball should be played. Barring Dusty Baker again being moronic and slotting Cozart at the top of the Reds' order, there simply isn't anything I can hang my hat on here as a reason that Cozart should be targeted on draft day 2013.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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