2013 Fantasy Baseball, Jarred Cosart: Coming or Going?
It happens seemingly on a monthly basis these days. Some new pitcher gets called up and takes the world by storm. Perhaps it is the fact that pitching seems to be making a comeback after a couple of decades where hitters seemed to dominate. Perhaps, it is because teams can’t get a reliable scouting report on guys when they first come up. Who knows, maybe it is blind luck. Either way, Jarred Cosart is just in a long line of young pitchers that have captured our imagination with a gem in his debut.
For Cosart, it was eight plus innings of shutout baseball where he carried a no-hitter into the ninth. We should start by addressing the obvious. The Astros sent him down immediately following the game in what could best be called a procedural move. They won’t need a fifth starter until well after the all-star break, so why keep him up when he won’t be any good to them. Instead, they activated Justin Maxwell so they could have an extra position player.
The Astros brass has said they will evaluate who will get the fifth starter’s job over the all-star break. They could end up giving Lucas Harrell his job back, they could give it to Paul Clemens, Jose Cisnero, Cosart, or they could look behind door number four. It is also possible that some deals could be made in advance of the trade deadline that could open up more than one slot for a starting pitcher.
We can look at Cosart’s numbers from any number of angles, but I find it much easier to ignore what happened on Friday night and focus on the minor league numbers. How likely is it that we will see a repeat performance? Is he a guy that dominated in the minors?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .INN. . . . .ER. . . . .H. . . . .SO. . . . .BB. . . . .ERA
2013. . . . . . . . . . . . 93.0 . . . ..33. . . . .74. . . .93. . . . .50. . . . .3.19
Before 2013. . . . .372.2. . . .157. . . .337. . .320. . . .139. . . . .3.79
So, according to these numbers, Cosart seems to have figured out something at the AAA level when we strictly look at ERA and hits versus innings pitched. If we look closer we notice that he has a BABIP at .276. That’s much lower than what he enjoyed in 2012 and lower than any other season except 2011 in the minors. So, performance might be a bit lucky as would be indicated by his 3.61 FIP this season.
Still, we are talking about a guy that pitched in the Futures Game in 2011 and was the most impressive native born pitcher in that game according to some scouts. So, the talent is clearly there, but the Astros are an organization with options unlike the past. If we look at their roster in AAA and ignore issues that come up with the 40 man roster, some might even argue that he wasn’t the best pitcher the Astros could have promoted.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .INN. . . . .ERA. . . .SO. . . .BB. . . . .HR
Asher Wojciechowski. . . . . . . 79.1. . . . 3.06. . . .66. . . .29. . . . .10
Jarred Cosart. . . . . . . . . . . . ..93.0. . . . 3.29. . . .93. . . ..50. . . . ..5
Brad Peacock. . . . . . . . . . . . . .59.0. . . ..2.59. . . .57. . . .19. . . . . .6
Peacock has already been up and is already on the 40 man roster. They could have chosen him to make the spot start, but the timing wasn’t right in the standings. Of course, Brad Peacock has no business being anywhere near any of your fantasy teams. Cosart and Wokciechowski on the other hand present interesting dilemmas. Wojo just came off of a one hitter where he faced the minimum.
When you look at the numbers above you could surmise that he is actually the superior prospect. His numbers are superior to Cosart in every category except home runs allowed and strikeouts per nine innings. Still, some people would prefer him since he is walking fewer than three hitters every nine innings.
Despite his considerable abilities (including a fastball that occasionally touches 100), Cosart has never dominated in the minors of any length of time. That is worrisome for a guy that is supposed to have plus plus stuff. Friday night saw him pitch shutout ball, but it also saw him walk more hitters than he struck out. Chances are, he will get another opportunity to follow up that effort. Yet, chances are he will come back to the pack and be a solid, but unspectacular pitcher.