I know there is a prospect profile in the Forum somewhere but I wanted to open a fresh debate about his future value to the Reds.
He is a heavily debated player in the Minors (who isn't?) that some feel is a legit prospect, while others feel he isn't to much to get excited about. (once again par for the course)
So I did what I always do and decided to research it and put the numbers on the table in comparison to other teams SS prospects.
So I decided to go with equal players at the same level. Born in 1985 or later, in AAA for less than 2 full years and have at least half their seasons AB's in AAA. International League players only since the PCL is a way bit hitter friendly.
Let's start with Cozart...
Zack Cozart (24) Cincinnati:
.330/.450/.780 in 378 AB's
9 Errors in 95 Games, 22 SB's in 25 Attempts - 88%
16.8% K Rate
8.0% BB Rate
Argenis Diaz (23) Pittsburgh:
.299/.284/.583 in 243 AB's
6 Errors in 71 Games, 3 SB's in 4 Attempts - 75%
20.5% K Rate
6.2% BB Rate
Never had a SLG% over .382 or an OBP over .342 for a season.
Brian Bocock (25) Philadelphia:
.254/.279/.533 in 240 AB's
7 Errors in 74 Games, 4 SB's in 7 Attempts - 57%
22.5% K Rate
7.0% BB Rate
Career high OPS is .656 in 2007 / Played in the Majors in 2008 with a .414 OPS
Eduardo Nunez (23) NY Yankees:
13 Errors in 93 Games, 18 SB in 21 Attemps - 86%
14.2% K Rate
6.9% BB Rate
Lacks power. Never walked more than 32 times in any full season league.
So what does this show us. Among the players that are his equal...
He has the best BB rate. Second lowest K rate. Highest SLG%. 2nd highest OBP. Highest OPS. Most SB's, Highest SB success rate, Most HR's, Most RBI's, Commits one error every 10.6 games. (Cabrera 9.4 with less range)
He leads all AAA Shortstops (INT/PCL) - (All Age Ranges and experience) in HR's, SB's, Runs, XBH's and second in Hits and RBI's. He does this in a park that is termed pitcher friendly and can sap RHH power. (see Stubbs, Drew)
So what in all this doesn't make him a top flight SS prospect?
I see the term "overvalue" our own prospects alot. I'd like to think most of the prospects are undervalued.
Votto is a home grown MVP Candidate out OPSing Albert Pujols. Bruce and Stubbs are 25 and under OF's with less than 2 years AB's, Plus Gloves, Range and Arms. Both are Sporting over a .750 OPS and over a 100+ OPS+. Cueto a #3 starter, under 25 with a 123 ERA+, Travis Wood a #5 starter in 4 starts has a ERA+ of 210, Mike Leake a #4 starter has a ERA+ of 119 and never been in the minors, Chris Heisey has a OPS+ over a 100. Ondrusek with a ERA+ of 101 and a ERA of 0.96 in his last 20 games since being called back up. Jordan Smith hasn't even been to AAA and has an ERA+ of 119. Not to mention a DL'd Bailey
We have Cozart, Chapman, Mesoraco, Sappelt, Perez, Francisco, Alonso, Frazier, Valakia, Dorn, LeCure, Klinker, Valiquette, Joseph, Del Rosario all more than likely capable major leaguers. All home grown. Name one other team in baseball that can brag this.
All these players, less Votto, are going to be under 26 at the start of next year and Votto will only be 27.
Older guys like Hanigan 30 (145 OPS+), Janish, 27 (129 OPS+), Dickerson 28 (97 OPS+ in 2009) all came from the system as well. All 3 are among the elite when it comes to being defenders on the field. All 3 are GG capable.
That's 13 players, 11 on the active roster that are home developed, above average, ML players. So chances are, that Cozart, being developed in the same system, is being undervalued. He plays a plus glove and range with an average accurate arm. Hitting in GABP he could be a 20/20 SS easily, with 20+ 2B's and around .425 SLG% year one. Even a low, low .300 OBP would sport a .725+ OPS. .085 points better than the current SS. At a 6 year discount.
Only Furcal, Hanley Ramirez, Reyes and Drew are above that line in the NL. Alex Gonzalez was before the trade in the AL. Only Pennington (.736) and
Alexei Ramirez (.726) are above that line in the AL now that he is gone. Derek Jeter has a .719 OPS this season.
Cozart has special tools and believe it or not a special bat that has performed and adjusted to every level. He could be an All Star if he goes, .350/.450/.800 which I think he is capable of in one or two seasons. He is more than likely better at the plate than 20 of the Starting SS in the Majors. More than likely in the top half of the defensive ones, so why are most undervaluing him so much?