LA Angels Midseason Report Card: Zack Cozart
By David Peng
The MLB All-star break is around the corner, Halo Hangout will be handing out their midseason grades on how the LA Angels’ players have done thus far.
The Zack Cozart that the LA Angels were hoping they signed to a three year contract this past winter was the one who posted a .933 OPS while showing outstanding defense at shortstop. The Cozart they actually got has turned out to exactly who Zack Cozart has always been: a light-hitting defensive wizard. Indeed, the Cozart the Angels got is actually even less than that, as Cozart will miss the remainder of the 2018 season, having had to submit to surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Before the start of the season, the Angels were talked about as having one of the great infields of all time: between the off-season signings of Cozart and Ian Kinsler at second base to go with shortstop Andrelton Simmons, this infield was not only supposed to be where ground balls went to die, but they were all expected to contribute offensively as well. That simply hasn’t happened. Cozart will finish his abbreviated season hitting just .219/.296/.362.
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The Angels were hoping that Cozart, in particular, would bring his newly found offense from Cincinnati, where he’d spent his first five full seasons compiling a .246/.289/.385 batting line before busting out with a wildly uncharacteristic .297/.385/.548 line in 2017 that landed him three years and $38 million from the Angels. This will remind fans of another tough-minded, defense-oriented veteran who the Angels signed to a five year, $50 million contract after one fluke offensive season.
The Gary Matthews Jr. experience turned out so badly, the Angels eventually had to pay the New York Mets $21.5 million just to take Matthews off their hands. It’s one of the great disasters of the Arte Moreno era, and one that — apparently — the Angels didn’t learn anything from.
Mid-Season (and Final) Grade: D
It’s tempting to give Cozart an incomplete grade, or to take it easier on him because his attitude towards the team has been so great. He was very open about the difficulties in shifting from his beloved shortstop position to second, then third base, but he did it without complaining, and played terrific defense throughout his struggles. However, a .658 OPS can’t be waved away.
Next: David Fletcher a good replacement for Zack Cozart
Cozart gets a D for his defensive contributions and for not being a D in the clubhouse. The only bright spot is that his injury forced the Angels to bring up David Fletcher, but that’s just spin. Cozart’s done for 2018, and there’s scant little good to be said for his season.