Angels’ Spring Training Battles: 4th Outfielder Job

By Brian Helberg
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The Favorite: Collin Cowgill

Originally selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, the Angels dealt for Collin Cowgill in June of 2013 from the New York Mets. The 28-year-old is always hustling, and he won some fans during his first full campaign in Anaheim. Cowgill won the fourth outfielder job last spring. He posted a .250 batting average, with 5 home runs, 21 RBI’s, and 4 stolen bases across 106 games in 2014. Never known as an offensive force, Cowgill demonstrated an improved ability to get on base last season, recording an OBP of .330. Cowgill is never going to be a guy who can drive an offense, but he proved to be a reliable contributor at the bottom of the Angels’ batting order in 2014.

Apr 30, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill (7) makes a play in the ninth inning of the game against the Cleveland Indians at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Angels won 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Defense has never been an issue for the Lexington, KY product, and his versatility proved to be invaluable to the Halos last season. Cowgill filled in admirably for an injured Kole Calhoun early in the season, and he picked up the slack when Josh Hamilton was unable to play. Of the 109 games Cowgill appeared in, 49 came in right field, 44 in left, and 11 up the middle in center. His .984 fielding percentage fell just short of the .986 league average. Cowgill registered an impressive 2.36 range factor per 9 innings, besting the league average of 2.26. While not blessed with a great arm, Cowgill did manage to record four outfield assists in 2014.

Collin Cowgill hits from the right side of the plate and he does not provide the Angels with much speed, but Cowgill is the best defender on this list. He also has the most big league experience of anybody on this list, having appeared in 253 games over the past four seasons. He enters spring training the favorite to once again win the fourth outfielder role. Cowgill is likely to earn the majority of starts in left field in Hamilton’s absence early in the season.

Next: Dan Robertson