By Grant Avise (@WestCoastBias87)
Kaleb Cowart could have one of the biggest surprise impacts on the Angels this season. Cowart got plenty of chances in the big league lineup with the Angels over the last several seasons. Best known for his glove and more impressive throwing arm. His bat never quite developed the way it was supposed to.
In December, the Angels designated Cowart for assignment and his former Angels general manager and current Mariners GM, Jerry Dipoto picked up his former draft pick. Dipoto saw something in the arm of Cowart and wanted to experiment. An experiment that is making waves throughout baseball. With the emergence and success of American League Rookie of the Year, Shohei Ohtani, other teams are trying to find and develop their own two-way players.
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Seattle would end up releasing Cowart and the Detroit Tigers picked him up, trying to keep him as a two-way player. The Tigers would also end up releasing him. Cowart found his way back home to his original team. No longer as just a versatile defensive hole in the lineup but as a two-way player. If Cowart could be a bullpen piece for the Angels, he could resurrect big league career that was thought to be dwindling.
He could also be one of the biggest cogs to the Angels success in 2019. Angels GM Billy Eppler said that Cowart would work both as a pitcher and position player during Spring Training, focusing primarily on pitching. He already has three pitches to boot. His fastball sits at 91-93mph with sinking action. He has what scouts are calling “a hard slider and a split-finger”. Scouts are liking him more as a pitcher, than as a position player.
If Cowart is able to be a successful pitcher and come in from the bullpen and get an inning or two worth of outs, or come in late to play defense, pinch run or even use his switch hitting bat to pinch hit, he just might be the most versatile player on the Angels. Though, his talents on either end won’t be near where Ohtani’s are; being serviceable at all aspects could still prove to be a huge difference maker for Cowart and the Angels going forward.