2008 ranking: #16
School: Owasso High School, Oklahoma
Became a Cardinal: Selected in the first round (18th overall) of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
Selected 2008 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)
Dustin Mattison (12): The Cardinals' first round pick in 2007 put up a very solid first professional season. Against Midwest League pitching, he posted a .363 on base percentage and a very respectable 69-to-45 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Kozma played solid defense and earned a start at the league's All-Star game. His glove looks very playable and he showed he could make contact though he did not shot much power, slugging only .398 while at the Quad Cities. The Cardinals believe he will develop power as he matures.
During a late season promotion to Palm Beach, the "Okie" struggled mightily against Florida State League pitching. That is where he should start the 2009 season and hopefully he will learn from his struggles and be much more productive at Roger Dean Stadium.
Ray Mileur (15): Kozma may have not lived up to the lofty expectations normally associated with a first round draft pick to date, but the organization's confidence in the kid from Oklahoma hasn't wavered. He got off to a quick start last season, being named the Quad Cities Player of the Month in April, after hitting a team leading .341 and scoring a team high 20 runs. By the end of the season, April was a distant memory, with Kozma hitting just .130 (10-for-77) in 24 games, after being promoted to Palm Beach. There isn't anything left to prove at Quad Cities, he played solid defense and hit .284 with five home runs and 40 RBIs in 99 games for the River Bandits. According to sources, he's slated to start the season at Palm Beach.
Message board community (12): Kozma continued in 2008 to solidify his reputation as a solid, above average, yet unspectacular prospect. Regardless, Kozma did garner Midwest League All-Star honors and was the Scout.com Quad Cities Player of the Year for 2008.
Kozma struggled in a brief appearance at High A Palm Beach late in the season and should return there to start 2009. A solid showing there should allow him to continue his climb up the minor league ladder. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (8): The former first rounder improved his position from last year based on his good, but not great results at Quad Cities.
There is no doubt that Kozma's worst month was his final one, in August, most of which occurred after he joined Palm Beach. That month, his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was an awful .213. That can be partially attributed to high ground ball and fly ball rates (each over 40%) which were fairly consistent over the season. More telling was a line drive rate that fell to 10% that final month.
Jeff Luhnow saw Kozma pick it up in the short postseason. "I was down there for the Florida State League playoffs and I can tell you that he looked very comfortable both ways. He was defensively outstanding and he was hitting in the #2 hole in the playoffs. He got some key hits. He wasn't in the two hole because the manager knew I was coming and put my first-rounder in the two hole. He did it because he earned his way there.
"Him being there at the playoffs and having some success, I think he is going to translate that into a good winter program where he just works out and gets ready mentally and physically and comes into spring training as our Palm Beach shortstop and goes from there.
"At his age, that is the perfect level for him to be at, and tools-wise both ways, defensively and offensively, he's doing exactly what we projected him to do. If you look at his cohorts, the high schoolers from that draft that went in the first two rounds, he's a level above where most of those guys are.
"He was in a pitcher's league for a little while (FSL), so it is not a surprise that he went through a little bit of a hitting slump there. It's a game that is played on both sides of the field. He's a good defender and if he can keep doing the things he has been doing at shortstop, he's eventually going to hit. He is going to hit," Luhnow predicted with emphasis.
To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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