Astros fans were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Jarred Cosart this summer, and he delivered.
We know all about Cosart’s track record of minor league success, but I’m not sure that anyone expected a 1.95 ERA in 10 major league starts from the prospect. If that does not give you optimism for the future and provoke dreams of a top flight rotation, which will be in part anchored by Cosart, I’m not sure what will.
However, we cannot look at the start to Cosart’s major league career solely with blind optimism. I know that sounds crazy since the right hander had a 1.95 ERA while averaging six innings a start. Between the lack of consistent production from both the offense and the bullpen by the Astros, I am not going to hold Cosart’s 1-1 record against him.
I know right off the bat, people are going to have an issue with Cosart’s lack of strikeouts. He only struck out 33 batters, and that frankly is not acceptable for a player whose average fastball velocity was 94.5 mph. The problem though, is that he threw that pitch over 70% of the time, and still is developing a breaking pitch. That is something that will be necessary for Cosart to take steps towards the next level.
But at the same time, Cosart historically was never a strikeout pitcher in the minor leagues, so I am not too concerned here. I think as he gets more comfortable with his curve ball (something that was already beginning to happen), and just more acclimated to the major leagues in general, we should see an increase to his strikeout totals. However more importantly, I don’t want Cosart to try to become a pitcher he is not and go out of his way trying to strike batters out.
Now, let’s take a look at some stats that do give me cause for concern regarding Cosart for next season. I am not going to go too in depth here with advanced statistics, but these two will illustrate that there is some clear room for regression next season. Perhaps more importantly, it gives you a clearer picture of Cosart’s season and puts it into context.
Left on Base (LOB) %:
Of all base runners, Cosart allowed this season, 85.9% did not score. That percentage is extremely high and about 10-15% higher than the league average. Now it is obvious that he is not going to have a sub two ERA every season, but this percentage will decrease next season.
Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP):
Without getting too technical, the thought process here is that this helps to eliminates the variables of defense, luck, and provides a “truer” ERA. While Cosart’s ERA was 1.95, his FIP was 4.35 this season. That is quite the disparity. A large part of the issue, is that Cosart walked 5.25 batters per every nine innings. That is quite simply too much, and will need to change.