24-Year-Old Third Baseman – Los Angeles Angels
2017 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
The "bust" label has been following Cowart over the past few years, and the infielder did little to shed that tag during the 2016 season. He began the year with Triple-A Salt Lake, and although his nu...
Cowart was optioned to the Angels' minor league camp Tuesday.
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Kaleb Cowart: MLB Games Played By Position
Kaleb Cowart Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Kaleb Cowart Defensive Stats
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Los Angeles Angels Roster
MajorsAlvarez, Jose (P)
AAAAckley, Dustin (1B)
AABriceno, Jose (C)
A+Barria, Jaime (P)
ABaldoquin, Roberto (SS)
RookieGarcia, Julio (SS)
Kaleb Cowart: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
It was an incredibly long road for Cowart to reach the big leagues, but in 2015 he finally arrived after a strong showing in 62 games at Triple-A. A first-round pick back in 2010, Cowart carried the “bust” label with him for each of the past couple seasons, but after slashing .323/.395/.491 with six homers in 253 plate appearances in the Pacific Coast League, he finally started to resemble a major leaguer. He is probably a better defensive option at third than Kyle Kubitza, but Kubitza may have the offensive edge, though that debate largely became moot for 2016 when the team acquired Yunel Escobar from Washington. Cowart does not have the offensive ceiling to warrant ownership in most mixed formats even if he were to eventually work into regular playing time.
It wasn't long ago that Cowart was looked at as the third baseman of the future in the Angels' organization, but the 22-year-old had his second consecutive disastrous year at Double-A Arkansas in 2014, as he tallied a .223/.295/.324 batting line in 487 plate appearances. While he improved his walk rate last season, the raw power Cowart has shown in the past continued to elude him (.101 ISO), and his strikeout rate stayed above 20.0% for the third consecutive year. He still has time to develop, but the organization may not want to wait that long. A two-way player in high school, there has been some consideration to move him to the mound in order to utilize his strong arm. In any case, Cowart's emergence as a major leaguer in 2015 appears to be unlikely, and he may be at a crossroads in his career.
Cowart began the 2013 season widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the Angels' minor league system, but he struggled after being promoted to Double-A Arkansas at the beginning of the season, slugging just .301 on the year. This may be seen as something of a setback for the highly-touted third baseman, as he slugged .452 between Low-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Inland Empire in 2012. Before the disappointing season, there were talks of Cowart breaking into the major leagues as early as 2014, but that goal is not likely to be reached at this point, as he will likely begin 2014 back in Double-A. Despite his recent shortcomings, however, he is probably still seen as the third baseman of the future within the system, but the Angels bought him additional development time with the acquisition of David Freese in November.
Cowart, the 18th pick in the 2010 draft, put up a .276/.358/.452 line across two levels (Low-A and High-A) last season, and made 16 errors in 125 games at the hot corner after compiling 16 errors in only 66 games of rookie league play during the 2011 season. Cowart has enough plate discipline and raw power to stick at the hot corner if he can continue to make strides defensively, and he's one of the better prospects in the Angels' organization. He should make it to Double-A before the end of the season if he doesn't start the year there, but is still probably at least two years away from making an impact in the majors.
Cowart held his own in his first professional season, posting a .283/.345/.420 line in 72 games with Orem in the rookie league. He socked seven home runs knocked in 40 runs, but he also made 16 errors at third base. Cowart will have to pick up the power and defense a bit to stick at third base, but the 2010 first-rounder - who will not turn 20 until this summer - is one of the Angels' better prospects.