PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 10: U.S. Futures All-Star Jarred Cosart #31 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field on July 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
For our minor league spotlight this week, I want to talk about one of the top pitching prospects in the system, but not in the way you might think. Thanks to Astros County, we've got a tweet from Mr. Jarred Cosart, which doesn't seem like he's very happy with the Houston organization right now.
Sad when people from your own organization doubt you and your team. It's about time to silence critics. hey @astros I'm coming for ya— Jarred Cosart (@JarredCosart) May 22, 2012
So, so many things popped into my head because of that, but the first thing was something that Jeff Passan said in an article about Matt Wieters. He called this the Era of the Prospect and that many guys get more famous as minor leaguers than anything they'd do as big leaguers.
Has that happened to Cosart? Has the attention, the Futures Game appearances all gone to his head?
Houston has had a relatively hype-free minor league system lately. Sure, the odd Jordan Lyles got plenty of attention before getting called up, but for the most part, guys like J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve received much less early attention than guys like Will Middlebrooks or Mike Trout did for other teams.
A better example of how this new phenomenon is reaching Houston is the craze around what George Springer is doing in Lancaster. While the Astros will probably be content to see Springer play most of the year for the JetHawks before maybe getting a late-season promotion to Corpus Christi, fans are already getting excited about him making the majors, possibly this year.
Prospects get a ton of attention now, and the best of those get a ton of attention. It's the same for Cosart, a precocious arm who's always had better stuff than his results. If this were the first incident with the right-hander, I wouldn't be as worried, but something similar happened when Cosart didn't get invited to the big-league team's spring training. He got all huffy then and Bud Norris had to calm him down.
Did this pop up because Houston signed Armando Galarraga instead of letting Cosart stay up in Triple-A? If so, what has he done to think he deserves to stay in Triple-A? What exactly is Houston doubting?
Well, maybe it's the fact that Cosart has only started seven games on the season and just one of those for Oklahoma City. Or the fact that his K rate, while better than in years past, is still under 8.00. Or the fact that his walk rate has spiked dramatically this season.
But, okay, let's say his anger isn't because the organization signed someone ahead of him, but instead because he's getting mixed messages. What if the management team is experiencing a split? Cosart was brought in under a different GM with different scouting and player development people. That's slowly changing now, but there are still plenty of old-guarders here around the new staff.
What if there's a disconnect between what the new and old staffs are telling him? Could Cosart just be feeling the internal war and speaking publicly about it?
Or maybe Cosart just has an inflated sense of his own destiny because of all the hype. He's been in the Top 100 prospects, had a big deal made of him after being included in the trade for Hunter Pence and, as mentioned before, was impressive in the Futures Game.
The trouble, of course, is that Cosart's results haven't shown he's ready for the next step yet. He may get there, but he's not there yet. It's fine and well to be driven to get to the mountaintop, but there's a difference between being driven and being unrealistic.
The other side to this coin is that Houston simply may have wanted to add a starter to that OKC rotation who could be called up to the majors in a pinch. If they promoted Cosart, it's highly unlikely they'd immediately try to bump him up to the majors in case of an injury.
So, instead, they went with a veteran and sent Cosart back down to Corpus Christi for a bit longer. If he took this as a slight, that's fine, as long as he allows it to drive him to get better. I have no problem with a player using frustration with something like this to motivate him to work harder and get better. Sometimes, the best players need to use every little thing to fuel their competitive fires.
That's why I think the best answer to why Cosart got all mad is the simplest. He wants to be in the majors, but isn't quite ready yet. That conflict will make him chippy and in the Era of Twitter, we get to see that dissatisfaction show up, live and in color.