When the Anaheim Angels signed Zack Cozart, they expected solid production at the plate from the 32-year-old free agent. His first year in Anaheim was one of his worst in almost every category. After a shoulder injury leading to surgery ending his season, the Angels hope the infielder can return to form in 2019.

To understand what Cozart can bring in 2019, we need to understand what went wrong in 2018. Below is a graph showing the percentage of hits Cozart had from 2016-2017.

On the surface, most of his batted balls did not change much. While his ground ball average has always been below average, his fly ball percentage has always been well over the average of 35%. One of the few positives of Cozart’s 2018, was his line drive percentage returning to league average.

The only drastic change for Cozart was how his infield fly ball rate jumped six percentage points. This is one of the main reasons why the 2017 All-Star’s OPS dropped from .933 to .658. Hitting fly balls have always been a part of Cozart’s game, but in 2018 they were the reason for his decline.

Another reason for his sharp decline was his inability to hit well against lefties. Before last season, Cozart had a .334 wOBA against lefties with the league average being around a .320 wOBA. The chart below shows another sharp decline, especially against lefties.

In the chart above, Cozart’s wOBA against lefties has either been as good or better than his wOBA against righties. Despite that trend, he had a career low in wOBA against lefties in 2018. This came after a career-high in the same statistic.

It’s safe to assume Cozart’s 2018 is more of an outlier than what should be expected for his 2019 return. While he may never return to his 2017 All-Star status, Cozart can still be a solid contributor around the diamond.

For the first time in his major league career, Cozart was asked to play third base and second base. His previous experience at shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds showed he had the range to cover both infield positions. While he may never return to his 2014 form, where he had the second-best defensive WAR for National League shortstops, he can be a diverse defender around the diamond.

Helping Cozart transition into modern baseball is his recently found ability to get on base. Since 2014, there has been a trend of Cozart finding more success in getting on base. In almost every year of his career, the former Red has improved his walking ability as shown below.

Year

Batting AVG

On Base % Diff. Between OBS and AVG
2012

.246

.288

.42

2013

.254

.284

.30

2014

.221

.268

.47

2015

.258

.310

.52

2016

.252

.308

.56

2017 .297

.385

.88

2018 .219 .296

.77

 

Even in 2018, Cozart showed his patience, having a .77 difference between his on base percentage and batting average. If Cozart can increase his batting average to his career average of .251, he will be well within .320 OBS.

In 2019, it is safe to assume Cozart will return to his 162 game averages of .251/.304/.407 with around 15-20 home runs and around 50-60 RBI. While that production does not jump off the page, it gives consistency to the infield spot he will take over, either second or third base. Both positions have lacked much production in since their league-leading offense in 2014.

With Taylor Ward struggling in his debut season, it is likely Cozart will begin the season at third base. His defense at the position is perfectly average, but the consistency he hopes to bring to the position is more important than defense. His defensive miscues can also be covered by Andrelton Simmons at shortstop.

While 2018 was not what the Angels or Cozart expected his first season to be, he is likely to return to his former self in 2019. His presence in the lineup and at the hot corner will bring a much needed consistency to both.

Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.

For quality up-to-date sports reporting, visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Author Details
Content Creator at Armchair Anaheim Angels , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
My name is Ryan Kanne, and I am a journalism major at Emerson College. I am a born Chicago sports fan but grew up in Chino Hills, California. No, I don’t know the Ball brothers, but I did go to their rival high school. I’m a big fan of the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls as well as the Los Angeles Angels, and Clippers, which means I’m very used to disappointment. I grew up in a sports heavy family, evident by me going to a baseball-themed elementary school and being named after a Cubs Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg. Talk to me about the MLB or NFL and I won’t be quiet for a while
×
Content Creator at Armchair Anaheim Angels , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
My name is Ryan Kanne, and I am a journalism major at Emerson College. I am a born Chicago sports fan but grew up in Chino Hills, California. No, I don’t know the Ball brothers, but I did go to their rival high school. I’m a big fan of the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls as well as the Los Angeles Angels, and Clippers, which means I’m very used to disappointment. I grew up in a sports heavy family, evident by me going to a baseball-themed elementary school and being named after a Cubs Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg. Talk to me about the MLB or NFL and I won’t be quiet for a while
Latest Posts

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.