Prospect Countdown #5 : Kaleb Cowart

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #5 : Third Baseman, Kaleb Cowart

Kaleb Cowart, Third Baseman

HT : 6'3
WT : 225
DOB : June 2, 1992 (24), Adel, Georgia
Throws : Right
Bats : Switch
School : Cook High School (Adel, Georgia)
Acquired : Drafted in 1st Round of 2010 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #14


One of the most talked about prospects in the Los Angeles Angels' farm system for the past half decade, Kaleb Cowart has hit every up and down there could be in his journey through baseball. Going from the top prospect in the system, to someone who should be considered for the mound, back to top prospect status. For more information on Cowart's journies, follow the "Do You Still Believe In Kaleb Cowart?" series, Scout.com produced over the past two years with Part 1 and Part 2.


SCOUTING REPORT:

At the plate, Cowart has reverted to his old swing, bringing his hands up and away from the body to create a more fluid motion to the ball to create optimal contact points. His swing is line-drive oriented, but still has a bit of length to it which causes him troubles catching up to high-velocity fastballs. He's added a slight leg kick to his game to gain better timing, which was his biggest struggle in the middle years of his development.

Cowart has some real power in his swing thanks to nice bat speed, and a strong frame. As his bat comes through the zone, it has added strength due to his new (or old) swing mechanics. Though he trades this for swing-and-misses at times, it did allow him to tap into his raw power from youth and into true power as a more advanced hitter. He should see double-digit home run totals with ease over time.

There's an aggressive nature to Cowart's abilities at the plate. He has improved his abilities to get into hitter's counts, but still needs work in deciphering the proper pitches to swing at. He has shown strides forward in plate discipline, which was never a large concern, but now that he's reaching the Major League level, will need to find easier ways to get into favorable counts and gain a better pitch recognition. This could be a large difference in his ability to become a Major League regular, or nice bench piece.

At third base, Cowart is a fantastic defender. He has an outstanding arm, that reached upwards of 95 miles per hour on the mound before he was drafted. Since, he's added muscle to his already large frame at six-foot-three and 225 pounds. He has quick feet, and the glove is just fine. He'll be able to use all of these at the next level to become a premier defender in the league. He's been tested all around the infield, including times at shortstop, but is best suited for third base. However, his ball to hand transition, initial first step, and glove work should allow him to be moved around the infield with ease.

His quick feet also translates on the base paths where he's an advanced base runner. He has excellent baseball IQ, and understands each scenario he's put in, particularly on the paths. His first step is his biggest tool as a base runner, and has stolen his fair share of bases. Though this tool wouldn't register as his best, it is above-average, and you could see him take extra bases regularly, as well as see double-digit stolen bases.

VIDEO : Major League Baseball

Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

After a short debut after being drafted (seven games), Cowart heade for half of a pro season in Rookie Orem, where he shined, hitting .283/.345/.420 with 22 extra-base hits and 11 stolen bases. He followed that with a season where he jumped between both Single-A affiliate, and hit .276/.358/.452, collecting 16 home runs, 31 doubles and 103 RBI.

The next two seasons were a key turning point in the wrong direction, as Cowart repeated Double-A, and saw both seasons collect a .222/.286/.312 slash line, knocking his power numbers down to 12 home runs and 38 doubles over 258 games. His strikeout rate jumped to 21.6%, and walk rate declined to 7.8%.

Things continued to regress for Cowart, as he was sent down to High-A for the 2015 season, where he hit .205 with a .613 OPS over his first 45 games. Hitting coach, Brent Del Chiaro adjusted Cowart's swing to what it used to be, and he went on 11-for-20 skid with seven doubles, and earned a quick promotion to Triple-A.

Cowart hit .323/.395/.491 with 13 doubels and six home runs in his first 61 games in Salt Lake, and was proving to be the top prospect he was when drafted. After those 61 games, Cowart did not set foot on a Triple-A field for the rest of the season with a quick callup to the big club, where he hit .174 with a .538 OPS in 25 games to finish the year.


EXPECTED FUTURE:

Though he lost the promise of being a future five-tool prospect, Cowart still has loads of potential. Before the trade that landed Yunel Escobar in Anaheim, it was planned that Cowart would be the Angels' third baseman on Opening Day. Currently, he's adding depth to the organization, and should see his fair amount of Major League at bats this season.

Escobar is a free agent at season's end, and Cowart very easily could be filling in for him at the start of next year. The plan was for Cowart to be the third baseman of the future for the Angels, and that plan still seems to be in place. An excess year of development won't hurt his overall game, and could turn him into an average or better third baseman of the future.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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