Last Thursday night, the Angels made the decision to place Jett Bandy and Dan Reynolds on the 40-man roster, while not adding Kaleb Cowart. The importance of these roster moves? By not adding Kaleb Cowart to the 40-man roster, they have exposed him to the Rule V Draft and vice versa for Bandy and Reynolds.
Although Cowart was regarded as one of the top 3B prospects in the nation just a few years ago, he has fallen from grace since. After an impressive 2012 campaign where he batted .276/.358/.452 between Class-A and A+, Cowart was ranked as the 60th overall prospect in America by Baseball America. The following year, the Angels’ front office aggressively promoted the young third basemen to Double-A Arkansas, where he was three years younger than the average batter. But since his promotion, seemingly nothing has gone right for Cowart, as he’s failed to post an OPS greater than .620 in either of his seasons in the Texas League. He improved his OBP, SLG, strikeout and walk rates, and stolen base total from 2013 to 2014 but still has a long way to go. By now, the Angels are aware that Cowart doesn’t stand a chance at the major league level and wisely left him exposed to the Rule V Draft. The odds that a team actually reaches out to grab Cowart are virtually zero. He would be a dead weight on any team’s active roster and keeping him on a big league team for an entire season would be a stretch.
Jett Bandy is an interesting prospect who I believe would have been taken in the Rule V Draft had he not been protected. After an impressive season last year in Arkansas, Bandy has a very good chance to crack the Angels’ roster at the end of Spring Training. A combination of plate discipline and surprising power led Bandy to produce an OPS of .762 in the pitcher friendly Texas League. He also gunned down 40% of potential base stealers. Bandy should get a good look in Spring Training and if he performs well, we might see him donning red and white in 2015.
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Dan Reynolds pitched well in 2014, mostly for Double-A Arkansas where he posted a 3.60 ERA in 40 innings of relief. Reynolds was unlikely to be chosen in the Rule V Draft anyhow, but I suppose the Angels valued him enough to give him a roster spot. As a result of Reynolds addition to the 40-man, lefty Michael Roth was DFA’d which is a little surprising considering the Angels’ lack of left-handed relief. In Arkansas, the right-hander struck out over a batter per inning and allowed just 0.2 HR/9, but he also surrendered a 1.42 WHIP. Overall, Reynolds is not a dazzling prospect but if he continues to develop, he could be a useful bullpen piece one day.
If there’s anything to be learned here, it’s that Jett Bandy is pretty close to the big leagues while Kaleb Cowart is still quite a ways away.