In all likelihood, most people haven’t heard the name Jarred Cosart. But if mentioned in a story pertaining to him almost no-hitting the Tampa Bay Rays in his debut, most people have indeed heard of him.
Cosart had a fantastic rookie season in 2013 for the Houston Astros. He put together a 1-1 record in 10 starts, with a 1.95 ERA in 60 innings pitched. If there was one negative to draw from his rookie year it was that he had more walks (35) than strikeouts (33). He has proven time and again that he has some wicked talent, and he’s still one of the most exciting Astros.
Most of Cosart’s negative outings have a high walk rate, as would be expected. In 2013, Cosart had only two games where he walked less than three batters, and in those two games he pitched 13 innings while giving up just one run. When 2014 rolled around, the same was seen. In his first start, he walked none and none scored. Then he stumbled into his second start, walked four and, you guessed it, gave up five runs in a losing effort.
If Cosart can overcome the hump of walking people and find a way to hone in on the games where he is in complete control, he could become borderline elite. Opponents are only hitting .212 against him in his short stay in the Majors, so it’s quite clear that he can pitch through the best lineups — but walks are a whole different story.
Hopefully coaching and veteran leadership can find a way to isolate what he does differently between the high walk rate games and the dominant games. It seems eerily reminiscent of former Astro Bud Norris who displayed the same up-and-down tendencies. Let’s hope this one has a better outcome.