The MWAH prospect countdown finally crosses the finish line with the top prospect in the entire system and only Angel prospect to crack into any of the Top 100 prospect lists.
Position: 3B Highest Level: High-A
Bats:Switch Throws: Right Height: 6'3" Weight: 195 lbs.
Age: 20 Born: 6/2/92
2012 Season Stats
Low-A: 290 PA, .293 AVG, .348 OBP, .479 SLG, 16 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 44 SO, 9 SB, 4 CS, .319 BABIP
High-A: 315 PA, .259 AVG, .366 OBP, .426 SLG, 15 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 67 SO, 5 SB, 3 CS, .316 BABIP
Contact – B-. He’s made tremendous strides in this department. Removing a high leg kick as a loading mechanism and shortening his swing has taken him from a D in this department in Orem to a B- against better competition. However, there still are concerns. When he’s hitting left handed, though the swing is smooth, it is rather lengthy, which leads to a few more swings and misses. Pitches on the outer half of the plate, I’ve seen him drive to the opposite field with power and ease, and at the same time I’ve seen him try to yank these pitches and completely miss or make weak contact on. More than anything, Cowart just needs to stay within his game, he has the physical requirements to hit for power without him trying to pull the ball. Once he realizes this (and I feel like it will come with age and experience), Cowart’s hit tool will improve dramatically and Cowart’s ability to make contact could eventually be above average at the major league level. This could be a long road though.
Power – B+. He drove the ball with authority from both sides of the plate in 2012. Power and gaps, no matter the environment, he’s got some pop. Not HR derby or Mark Trumbo type power, but more likely above average corner infielder power. With such an athletic build (6’3 200+ lbs) Cowart will likely continue to add power through physical premise. Though there are complaints about the length of his swing (and they are legitimate concerns), the power generated with such swings is undeniable.
Discipline – B. Another area Cowart has made tremendous strides in. What once was a typical Angels approach (terrible K/BB ratio) has turned into a legitimate major league approach. Perhaps what is most encouraging is that Cowart posted higher BB rates with more advanced competition. This is promising for his future given that Cowart is about to make the jump to AA where hitters generally can’t pass through without a good measure of plate discipline.
Speed – B-. Being such a fantastic athlete, foot speed is comes with the territory. He has above average speed for baseball on the whole, but for a 3B you could say he has VERY good speed. His first steps defensively are as fast as any prospect and running the bases he has decent first to third speed. In terms of stealing bases, he has the foot speed to swipe 15 a year. I don’t envision him building a great deal of muscle given that he’s already got a solid built frame, so the speed should stick for the foreseeable future.
Arm – A+. Normally don’t give prospects an A+ in any category unless it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. Cowart has an elite arm. It’s easy to see why scouts wanted him to be a pitcher, where he threw 95. Cowart has what I’d consider one of the best arms in all of baseball among third baseman, major leaguers included. The velocity I’ve seen him put on the ball when throwing off balance and on the run really made me say “WOW!” and I’m not alone.
Performance – B+. I don’t think any prospect in the system has shown as much growth as Cowart has this year. He went from someone that spent an additional year in Rookie Ball without impressive results to a legitimate Top 100 prospect. The walks and homeruns in particular were impressive this season, and if the normal development curve of prospects applies here, we could be in for a treat.
Projection – A. This is why Cowart was a 1st round pick. He has a chance to be a switch-hitting 3B that hits for average, power, works his way on base and plays gold glove level third base. There’s only one of those in the Major Leagues right now, Chase Headley. That’s the sort of upside Cowart has. It may take him several years to realize this potential, but the package is there. Even if Cowart’s ability to hit for average and consistently make contact never develops, he should still make an above average option at third base in the Major Leagues.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date – Most fans see him making his way onto the roster around the end of 2013 or 2014 at the latest. However, given that he’s only 20 years old, hasn’t had a ton of at bats in the minors and will be facing stiff competition for the first time, I’m anticipating Cowart to take a little while longer than most. I see him breaking into a starting role midway or toward the end of 2015.
(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)