Cincinnati Reds: Zack Cozart Needs To Take A Step Forward In 2013

By Brad Stiene
Rick Scuteri-USA Today Sports

The MLB season is merely a week away and fans are starting to see their favorite teams’ roster shrink down to a 25-man group that will contend for a divisional, if not World Series title.

One man who is looking to make an impact this season for the Cincinnati Reds is Zack Cozart. Cozart was called up during the 2011 season and was off to a great start until he was sidelined with an injury that required him to have Tommy John surgery.

Once he returned from injury, Cozart hit the ground running again and became a solid defender that the Reds needed at the short stop position. Although 14 errors may seem like a lot, it’s actually not an overwhelming amount of errors that many rookies have. Cozart had a fielding percentage of .975 last year and teamed up with second baseman Brandon Phillips to turn what seemed like a million double plays game after game.

It’s not the defensive side that Cozart needs to step up on– it’s the offensive side. There’s not doubt Cozart has a sick glove, but a guy who only batted .246 last season from the lead off spot and had an OBP of .288 is not something to hang your hat on.

But I give Cozart a pass on this. He was forced into a situation where the Reds needed a lead off hitter and he was someone who essentially fit the mold. But Cozart struggled to get deep into counts and never really blossomed into a lead off hitter as the Reds had hoped for.

Now with the acquisition of Shin-Soo Choo,  you would think the pressure would be taken off Cozart to relax at the plate and develop into a hitter the Reds are hoping he becomes.


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