Zack Cozart: Is The Cincinnati Reds' Shortstop For Real?

By Jeff Gray

Is Zack Cozart (SS Cincinnati Reds)  for real?  I know that I am jumping the gun a little (okay a lot) here, but given how the season has started for Cozart, it is a good question.   

Based on the, albeit, slim body of work, the answer is yes.  

Zack Cozart came into the season with 11 career games under his belt in the Show.  During that time last year, he had a batting average of .324, had 12 hits, and 2 homeruns, all in 37 official at bats.  He went down with an injury just when people were starting to take notice.

Coming into the 2012 season, he is the starting shortstop, having subplanted Edgar Renteria at that position.  He is the first rookie to start opening day for the Cincinnati Reds since old flat top himself, Chris Sabo, did it back in 1988. 

During the first weekend of the season, Zack Cozart certainly did not disappoint Reds’ fans.  Not only was he solid up the middle, working very well with Brandon Phillips on a couple of difficult double plays, but he was a beast at the plate.  He finished the weekend three-game series with the Miami Marlins with a .545 batting average, 6 hits (that included a triple, double and home-run), 2 RBI, and 1 base-on-balls; all in 11 official at-bats.  In the 5 other appearances that he did not end up with a hit, he hit the ball hard.  He only had 1 strike-out. 

It was the home-run that was something special.  He turned on an inside fastball and wrapped it around the left field foul pole.  Cozart consistently showed really quick hands at the plate. 

Now, it was his health that derailed a promising start to his career last season.  So it is imperative that Zack Cozart remain healthy and in the line-up.  If he can do that, I believe that he will be a strong contender for Rookie of the Year for the Cincinnati Reds and that the Reds will have a very solid shortstop for many seasons to come.  Anyone else reminded of Barry Larkin when watching Zack Cozart play?  That is enough to make this Kool Aid drinking Reds’ fan smile.

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