Amateur Draft Profile: Kaleb Cowart, RHP/3B, Cook County HS (Georgia)

Kaleb-cowart-delivers_medium

Summary

At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Cowart is a tall, lanky two-way high school star. Another Georgia prepster, Cowart is a power pitcher from the right side on the mound and plays shortstop with a big bat. His size and lack of ideal speed mean he will need to move to third base as a pro. If he moves, his arm strength will give him plus skills defensively. His bat is also considered his best strength. He's a switch hitter, but has to shore up his skills against lefties. His power is legitimate. He loads up in his swing well, but is a bit busy beforehand.

On the mound, Cowart has very violent delivery. it's compact, but he whips his arm and back leg towards the plate. His arm action is clean and it doesn't look like he has trouble repeating the delivery. He doesn't finish well, due to his max effort throwing style. His fastball sits in the low 90's but has touched 95 at times. His body doesn't look like it'll fill out much, but he's young enough to grow some more. He's got good control, but doesn't have much in the way of offspeed pitches. That's one of the reasons why teams may move him away from the pitching rubber.

Floor

A worst-case scenario here is if Cowart is put on the mound and has a Brian Bogusevic-type struggle. Switching back to the field in three years wouldn't be as hurtful as it's been for Bogusevic, but it would slow his development. Who knows if his power or plate discipline from both sides will still be there. If he ends up as a .210 hitter at third with some power, he might have a career like Russell Branyan. However, his power isn't as apparent as Branyan's.

Ceiling

Cowart has been compared to Chipper Jones because of his switch hitting and Georgia roots. He's also been compared to J.J. Hardy because of his body type. Assuming those comparisons are legitimate, that puts his ceiling anywhere from Hall of Fame to 7-10 year starter. As far as an Astros comparable, look at him like Ken Caminiti or Morgan Ensberg. Both were athletic players with good to great arms at third and solid power.

College Commitment

Florida State

Will the Astros pick him?  If so, where?

The thing with Cowart is he's a signability risk. He's apparently ready to go to Florida State unless a team meets his money demands and guarantees him a shot at third base. While that may rule out the Astros, he does fit a position of need while also hailing from a region where the Astros have a trusted scout. Put two and two together and Cowart to Houston makes a lot of sense. The question is whether would have to take him at No. 19 or could wait until the supplemental round. The Rangers are the most obvious choice to take him if he falls to No. 22, but their ownership issues may hamstring them with over-slot picks.

Where is he projected to go right now?

Keith Law has him at No. 22 to the Rangers.

Andy Seiler has him at No. 22 to the Rangers.

Deep Leagues has him at No. 23 to the Marlins.

Jonathan Mayo doesn't have him in the first round.

Perfect Game USA has him at No. 22 to the Rangers.

Baseball America has him at No. 27 to the Phillies.

Frankie Piliere has him at No. 22 to the Rangers.

Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)

Below the jump.

Video

Baseball Rumor Mill

MLB.com

Baseball Beginnings

Keith Law's take:

Cowart is the top two-way prospect in this year's draft, as someone who could be drafted in the first round as a position player or as a pitcher. He's a natural right-handed hitter, and it's evident when you compare his right- and left-handed swings. Right-handed, he has a busy lower half, but his hands work better -- both faster and stronger from setup to finish, with good leverage and future power once someone cleans up his lower half. Left-handed, his legs are a little quieter, but he wraps his bat and his hand speed is noticeably different.

He's a below-average runner, and hee's already too big for shortstop, without the foot speed or agility for the position, but should profile at third base where his plus arm will be an asset.

On the mound, Cowart has arm strength, starting out throwing 96 in a playoff start and sitting in the low 90s with a little arm-side run, but his secondary stuff isn't advanced, led by a short slider that's hard but lacks tilt, breaking downward like a curve. His arm is fast but he accelerates it late and could stand to use his lower half more.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a team take him as an arm, since he has now velocity and is a good athlete, but he'd be a long-term project as a starting pitcher.

Perfect Game profile (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

Loose athletic build, good strength potential. Top two way potential. Fast easy arm, loose athletic actions on the mound. Long powerful arm stroke, FB 90-92 this outing, often 94-95 in recent past. Hard spinning CB with very good depth, good 2 plane shape, developing change up. Outstanding defensive infielder, quick feet, athletic movements/balance, cannon arm. Switch-hitter, very good bat speed RH'd, ball jumps hard, long and smooth LH'd, shows power both ways, 6.84 runner. Ethan Martin comp but better overall athlete. Early draft prospect. Very good student, verbal to Florida State

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