Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Interview with Jarred Cosart

I was finally able to catch up with a very busy Jarred Cosart and have him answer a few questions for us.  But first, let’s look at some of his numbers from 2011.

In 20 games (19 starts) for the A+ Clearwater team in the Phillies organization, Cosart was 9-8 with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.306 WHIP over 108 innings pitched.  After the trade Cosart was promoted to AA at Corpus Christi and definitely held his own.  In seven starts, he was 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.266 WHIP.  However, going into his final start (which was a rough one), he had a 2.78 ERA and a 1.082 WHIP.

Now on to the questions ~

WTH:  You are generally ranked as either the #1 or #2 top prospect in the Astros minor league system, with the other player being Jonathan Singleton.  Does that add extra pressure as you work your way through the system?

JC:  It's honestly more of an achievement and/or and honor than any form of pressure. It shows that the Astros believe in my ability and the desire to win I bring to this ball club. That being said, it also shows that they expect me to compete and achieve at the highest level possible!

WTH:  I've read just about every scouting report out there and I think Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com sums up the general consensus in four words "electric stuff when healthy."  You pitched 144.1 innings in 2011 with no injuries.  What have you done to get past the injury concerns from earlier in your career?

JC:  Spending one and a half years in and out of the training room took a mental and physical toll on me as a professional athlete. Being injured made [me] want to do everything possible to stay on the field for an entire year and along with the help of the Phillies training staff, I was able to do that in 2011.  [It was] many small shoulder stability and strengthening exercises along with proper weight and physical conditioning.

WTH:  You have been described as having one of the best fastballs in the minor leagues, a good curveball and a change-up that is improving but still needs work.  But others have said you need to work on your command and throw more strikes.  What is your philosophy as a pitcher and what will be your focus in 2012?

JC:  Overall I want to focus on getting better at SOMETHING everyday. In my opinion a pitchers command can never be good enough. That is the number one key to being a successful pitcher, commanding all of your pitches within the strike zone. I thought my changeup improved tremendous amounts last year as well as my curveball. In 2012 I feel like I'll be in a refining stage, trying to perfect all of my pitches.

WTH:  David Coleman, writer for the Port Arthur News, SBNation and the Crawfishboxes blog described your ceiling as "Staff Ace" and your floor (if injury-free) as a closer along the lines of Brad Lidge.  Can you see yourself as a closer?  Do you prefer being a starter?

JC:  I've been a starter my entire career and would love to finish my career as a starter. There are different mindsets in every pitching role and at this early stage in my career I would take whatever role the Astros or any organization would like me to and adapt if it is a different role than a starter.

WTH:  You went from being a part of the formidable Phillies organization to being part of an Astros organization that is struggling through a re-build overnight.  Was that a disappointment for you?

JC:  I didn't view it as a disappointment at all. It was tough in the early stages of the trade to just have to pick up with a new team midseason and meet 25 new guys, all after leaving some of my closest friends that I had been with for 2 and a half years with the Phillies. But in the end it all worked very well and the Astros did nothing but good things for [me] and the other Phillies that came over in the trade. Now I get to tell everyone that I am HOME again and ready to help the Astros achieve big things in the future.  [WTH: Cosart is a native of League City.]

WTH:  You are in the unique position of coming to the Astros along with several other players from the Phillies.  You played in the Sally League in 2010 with Singleton, Zeid, Santana and Jonathan Villar (from the Oswalt trade).  Does that help with your transition?  Any insights into those players?

JC:  It was fun to come over with some guys that I knew who all happen to be great players. I think each of the three players you mentioned have a chance to play in the big leagues for a long time. Singleton has HUGE upside and power at the plate, all while hav[ing] the approach of a 24 year old at 20. Villar is defensively ready for the bigs and has shown flashes at the plate; he just needs to be a little more consistent. Zeid has the power stuff any team wants at the back end of the bullpen. The future looks bright for the Astros if you ask me.  [WTH: Cosart left out Santana in his response but he’s been so extremely busy that I didn’t want to wait for a follow-up to post.]

WTH:  I found an old interview in which you mentioned having a grandfather who had played baseball in the Astros and Cubs organizations at one point.  Can you tell me a little more about him?

JC:  My grandpa pitched for the Cubs and Astros primarily throughout his career. I wasn't able to have the pleasure of knowing him very well as he passed away when I was two years old of lung cancer.  I do believe that he along with GOD played a great influence on the athletic and baseball ability I have been blessed with today.

Thank you for your time Jarred.

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