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Promoting Kaleb Cowart = Playing With House Money

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The Angels currently sit just a few games out of a playoff spot and will welcome the greatest player in the game back into action. A critical 70 game stretch that will determine if the team makes the postseason is about to unfold.

Normally, this would be a horrible time to promote a prospect who has struggled offensively in limited MLB opportunities. However, second base for the Angels is not a normal area of need. No, second base is a barren wasteland that provides no value to the current club.

The Prospect

Kaleb Cowart was drafted in 2010 as a power hitting third baseman with a great arm. The arm was so good, in fact, there was debate about whether his baseball future would be as a pitcher or position player when he was in high school.

Kaleb has struggled offensively at multiple levels of minor league ball and in brief MLB call ups. He’s changed his swing, caught fire, gone cold, rinsed and repeated a few times. Currently, his bat is alive again.

What he has never lacked, however, were great defense and a strong throwing arm.

The Current Second Base Options

Danny Espinosa is carrying a wRC+ of 39 with a batting average of .162 and is striking out 35.8% of the time. For those unfamiliar with wRC+, here is a great link. Basically, an average MLB hitter will rate as 100. So, for a guy to be rated a 39 is horrible. Only one player in all of MLB is rated worse than that, and he’s at 38.

Danny Espinosa, is essentially the worst hitter in all of baseball.

Defensively, Espinosa is about average according to most metrics.

Cliff Pennington has fared better in limited action, but is an established utility player. His wRC+ is 72, meaning he’s only about 30% worse than the average MLB hitter and nearly twice as good as Espinoza. His glove work is decent, but nothing to make one forget Roberto Alomar.

On The Horizon

Espinosa and Pennington are both free agents at the end of the year, not that either would be viewed as a long term solution at second base. Outside of Cowart, the Angels don’t have any prospects close to big league ready. Perhaps Eppler finds a way to land Dee Gordon and save the Marlins some money, but the trade market is something the team can’t control.

Let The Kid Play Now and For the Future

While normally I’d bemoan “it can’t get any worse” logic, in this case it would be very difficult for Cowart to be worse than Espinoza. To be 60% worse than an average MLB hitter and not be a pitcher is difficult. In fact, a handful of pitchers are better offensively than Espinosa.

A mediocre second baseman helps the team win now. The bar is set that low.

Plus, as the team looks towards a long term solution, wouldn’t it be nice to see if we have one already on the roster? Cowart might not be the answer to second base in 2018 and beyond, but giving him 55 games and roughly 200 at bats is certainly the best way to find out.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.