The Winter Meetings started yesterday, and surprise surprise, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto is among the first general managers to make a move, adding former top Angels prospect Kaleb Cowart off waivers. Cowart was born in Adel, Geogia, and drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in 2010 as the 18th overall pick, who took him after he won the Gatorade National High School Baseball Player of the Year award the same year. He signed with with the Angels despite having commited to playing baseball at Florida State. Cowart spent five difficult years working in the Angels farm system, never hitting above .300 until he was promoted to the Angels Triple-A affiliate in 2015 where he put together a .323/.395/.491 slashline, and later that year was called-up to the majors and made his debut on August 18, 2015. In the four years since he has played in 162 games, he has managed to hit .177/.241/.293 with 6 homeruns, while striking out 114 times in 345 at-bats.
His profile as a pitcher is what seems to be drawing the most attention from the Mariners front office. In his senior year of high school he pitched 73 innings, with a 1.05 ERA, and 116 strikeouts. Those numbers clearly have the Mariners excited about his potential to help the team during the rebuild, as it was reported by the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish that they intend to use Cowart as a two-way player, citing his 2010 high school season as reason to believe he can help the team on the bump as well as at the plate.
With the Mariners in full rebuild mode, it is likely Cowart will see plenty of playing time in the 2018 season. In his time with the Angels, Cowart showed the ability to play nearly every position on the field, with the only exceptions seeming to be center field and catcher. Most of his playing time whilst in the Angels organization was at third base, but with the Mariners stating their desire to have him pitch for them, as well Kyle Seager still guarding the hot corner (for now), it seems more likely his at-bats will come as a DH. As for his abilities as a pitcher, those will have to wait until Spring Training, where the Mariners will likely give him as many assignments as possible to gauge how comfortable he is on the mound against big league hitters. When asked in the past how he felt about pitching again, Cowart said, “I think it’s very interesting” but did express concern at how it could affect his health.
Featured Photo: AP Photo/Michael Wyke