Zack Cozart
Zack Cozart
33-Year-Old Third Baseman3B
Los Angeles Angels
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Most people expected some regression from Cozart after a breakout 2017 campaign with the Reds earned him a big free-agent contract with the Angels. Instead of simply taking a modest step back, though, the infielder’s 2018 season was an absolute disaster. His slash line sunk to .219/.296/.362, his ISO dropped to .143 and his walk rate plummeted. To make matters worse, he suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in late June, ending his season before he could attempt to bounce back from his horrific start. Cozart expects to be fully healthy when spring training rolls around, and given that the injury was to his non-throwing shoulder, it shouldn’t impact his ability to play the field too much. He has two more years on his contract with the Angels, which should help him maintain his starting gig at third base. Even in a starting role, it’s hard to trust him after last year’s debacle, though his .244 BABIP suggests some improvement could come. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $38 million contract with the Angels in December of 2017.
Returns to lineup
3BLos Angeles Angels
March 19, 2019
Cozart (calf) is starting at shortstop and hitting second Tuesday against the Rockies, Rhett Bollinger of reports.
Cozart has been sidelined since March 3 with a left calf strain, but he's been cleared to rejoin the lineup in a full capacity after being limited to DH duties in a string of minor-league games over the weekend. With eight exhibition games left before Opening Day, the 33-year-old should still have enough time to get up to speed before the start of the season.
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Batting Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .824 293 40 13 33 2 .258 .332 .492
Since 2016vs Right .788 975 136 32 98 5 .264 .337 .451
2018vs Left .554 61 4 1 6 0 .173 .246 .308
2018vs Right .690 192 25 4 12 0 .233 .313 .378
2017vs Left 1.059 115 22 6 12 2 .337 .426 .633
2017vs Right .896 392 58 18 51 1 .285 .372 .524
2016vs Left .737 117 14 6 15 0 .226 .284 .453
2016vs Right .731 391 53 10 35 4 .260 .315 .416
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
Since 2016Home .788 627 91 21 63 4 .263 .341 .446
Since 2016Away .804 641 85 24 68 3 .263 .331 .473
2018Home .505 125 11 2 9 0 .156 .248 .257
2018Away .805 128 18 3 9 0 .278 .344 .461
2017Home .958 284 52 12 35 2 .327 .401 .556
2017Away .900 223 28 12 28 1 .258 .363 .537
2016Home .729 218 28 7 19 2 .242 .317 .412
2016Away .734 290 39 9 31 2 .259 .301 .433
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Stat Review
How does Zack Cozart compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Zack Cozart
AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
266 days ago
Erik Siegrist checks out the available free agents in the American League, where Tim Beckham seems ready to wipe away his rough start to 2018.
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280 days ago
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283 days ago
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Yahoo DFS Baseball: Monday Picks
286 days ago
Jose Quintana is toeing the rubber Monday for the Cubs in Milwaukee, and he's Adam Zdroik's recommendation for Yahoo's slate.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
Cozart is coming off a career season, setting highs in batting average, homers, runs and RBI. But saying that he set career-highs is vastly underselling how much of a surprise this was. Even accounting for his .297 average in 2017, his career average is a mere .254. He slugged .548 last year, yet maintains a career .411 mark. If the amplitude of the breakout doesn't sufficiently dissuade you of expecting a repeat, consider that he was only able to play 122 games and hasn't played in 145-plus games since 2015. This is all illustrative of why the Reds didn't tender a qualifying offer to Cozart when he became a free agent -- they were concerned that he would accept it and they would be stuck with an above-market contract. While we can't write-away last season as if it never happened, paying anywhere close to full price for it would be a grave mistake. Cozart will serve as the Angels' third baseman after signing a three-year deal in December.
After an awful knee injury ended his breakout 2015 campaign prematurely, Cozart picked up right where he left off to start 2016. Through his first 50 games, the 31-year-old slashed .303/.332/.532 to go with nine home runs, 32 runs, and 25 RBI atop the Reds' batting order. His production tapered off after that hot start, however, as he batted just .217 over the rest of the season (including a putrid .163/.293/.235 slash line at home). The shortstop's injury issues also crept back into the picture, as he missed time due to thumb and quadriceps ailments while also missing much of September with a knee problem. Cozart has some life in his bat, but it's tough to expect consistent production across an entire season as we simply haven't seen it. The Reds have been looking for a trade partner but so far have had no luck.
Cozart was in the middle of a breakout season offensively before suffering a gruesome knee injury while running out a groundball in June. The big question is whether his power spike was sustainable beyond a small-sample-size fluke, and whether he'll be able to generate that power after coming back from the knee injury. The one good thing that came from Cozart's injury is that it allowed Eugenio Suarez more playing time, and revealed that he can hit at the big league level. The conventional line of analysis is that Suarez is a better hitter than Cozart, but Cozart is a better defender at shortstop - or, at least, more sure-handed. Suarez however will probably have better range in 2016, so it's not guaranteed that Cozart sticks at shortstop. Tread carefully here - prior to 2015 Cozart was a negative-value offensive player, he's unlikely to run much going forward, and could ultimately lose his job or at least his position.
Even with the increased emphasis on run prevention in major league baseball, it's awfully difficult for a major league team to carry a bat like Cozart's in the lineup. When that team loses significant time and/or production from its two best hitters (Joey Votto and Jay Bruce), having Cozart in there on a daily basis is a recipe for disaster. Cozart is a superb defender who had his best year with the glove last season, but he also regressed at the plate. About the only positive offensive contribution he had was to steal seven bases in as many attempts, after not even attempting a swipe in 2013. He's likely to get another chance to prove us wrong in 2015, as the Reds have palpably few alternatives at shortstop throughout their system.
Cozart's continued presence in the second spot in the lineup consistently undermined the Reds' offense. He had 264 at-bats in that spot in the lineup, putting up a .254/.284/.367 line while batting between Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto. He wasn't any better elsewhere in the lineup, but at least then he wasn't actively diluting the top of the order. Making matters worse from a fantasy perspective, he didn't attempt any stolen bases. While his double-digit home run power makes him useful, Cozart doesn't seem to have too high of a ceiling.
Cozart and Drew Stubbs combined to give the Reds the least productive leadoff hitters in baseball, with Cozart hitting .223/.262/.379 in 465 plate appearances there. He did hit much better in the second spot in the order (.324/.378/.490) in 110 appearances, which is helpful as the Reds' stated goal this offseason was to acquire a leadoff hitter. Cozart is solid defensively, but he does not project to be an elite player with his glove. His 15 homers were still among the best for NL shortstops, though perhaps that's of rapidly diminishing value. Fortunately for Cozart, Billy Hamilton remains on track to play center field in 2013 even after the trade of Didi Gregorius in December.
At press time, the Reds hadn't paired Cozart with a veteran caddy to compete for the starting job as they did the previous two years with Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria, though the threat of Ryan Theriot still loomed. After starving for offense from the position between Paul Janish and Renteria in 2011, the Reds are crossing their fingers that Cozart is the answer. While Cozart held his own in his brief trial before an elbow injury ended his season, he didn't draw a walk in his 37 plate appearances. His minor league numbers suggest he's not a terribly patient hitter, either. In short, while he'll outproduce what the Reds got from the position last year, Cozart also has a limited offensive ceiling.
The Reds are likely to start Paul Janish at shortstop this season and not bring in a veteran caretaker for the job, as they did last year with Orlando Cabrera. That means a utility job will be open for the Reds, and Cozart could win that job, as the better defender at short between he and Chris Valaika. Unfortunately, Cozart's bat isn't really ready after a campaign at Triple-A Louisville where he posted a measly .310 OBP. He has some power, but there's not much upside here.
More Fantasy News
Returning to action Tuesday
3BLos Angeles Angels
March 17, 2019
Cozart (calf) is scheduled to start in the field in Tuesday's spring game against the Rockies, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.
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Will hit in minor-league game
3BLos Angeles Angels
March 15, 2019
Cozart (calf) will hit in a minor-league game Friday but will not play the field, Rhett Bollinger of reports.
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Nearing return to game action
3BLos Angeles Angels
March 13, 2019
Cozart (calf) could get into a minor-league game in a few days, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports.
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Confident in Opening Day return
3BLos Angeles Angels
March 11, 2019
Cozart (calf) is fully confident that he'll be able to play on Opening Day, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports.
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Sidelined by calf strain
3BLos Angeles Angels
March 5, 2019
Cozart was diagnosed Tuesday with a Grade 1 calf strain, which is expected to sideline him for a few weeks, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
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