After a boringly slow start, the hot stove sure is heating up now. And as of late, the Angels are the team making the most ruckus. After filling one massive void at second base yesterday with Ian Kinsler, the other hole in their infield was filled this afternoon when they agreed to terms with former Cincinnati Reds shortstop, Zack Cozart. The deal was reported to be for three years with an AAV of 12.67M. With Andrelton Simmons firmly entrenched at short, Cozart will slide over to the hot corner in 2018.
An example of how quickly things can turn in an off-season: When #Angels GM Billy Eppler originally talked to Zack Cozart on Tuesday, it was about playing 2B. Plan shifted suddenly after #Tigers engaged on Kinsler Wednesday and agreed to trade. Eppler then asked Cozart about 3B…
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 15, 2017
In 2017, Cozart enjoyed a career year, setting career-highs virtually across the board. He hit .297/.385/.548/.933 with 24 home runs, 63 RBI, 80 runs, and a solid 62/78 BB/K ratio. That .933 OPS trailed only Carlos Correa (.941) amongst shortstops. Put it all together and Cozart was the 12th most valuable fantasy shortstop last season, and 8th if you count only full-time shortstops.
With this acquisition, the Angels now have one of the deepest and most talented lineups in the American League.
Angels Projected 2018 Lineup
- Ian Kinsler 2B
- Mike Trout CF
- Justin Upton LF
- Albert Pujols DH
- Kole Calhoun RF
- Zack Cozart 3B
- C.J. Cron 1B
- Andrelton Simmons SS
- Martin Maldonado C
Cozart’s 2018 Fantasy Value
While this signing was a great move for the Angels, it hurts Cozart’s fantasy value in a couple of ways. First, as you can see above, he’s likely going to slot in the 6-8 range in the batting order. For most of 2017 in Cincinnati, he was hitting second in front of Joey Votto and Adam Duvall and right behind Billy Hamilton. With all due respect to C.J. Cron, Andrelton Simmons, and Martin Maldonado, they’re not exactly the same caliber of players. And trust me, I’m one of the biggest Hamilton haters you’ll find in the fantasy baseball realm. With lesser talent directly surrounding Cozart in the lineup, his runs and RBI will suffer a tad.
Secondly, not only does the lower batting slot matter because of the players hitting around him, it also means he’s likely going get around 25-50 fewer at-bats over the course of a full season, which, again, will drop his runs and RBI a little more.
OK, I lied. There’s a third way this move hurts Cozart’s fantasy value. I swear this is the last one. His new home ballpark in Los Angeles isn’t quite as hitter-friendly as Great American Park was in Cincinnati. Granted, maybe it was just Mike Trout robbing all those hits and home runs in center field, who knows.
Early ADP data has Cozart as the 13th shortstop off the board around pick 197 overall. Signing with the Angels will likely drop him a couple of spots and rounds, but he’s still a solid pick in the late rounds as a bench middle infielder or utility player.
I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question that I didn’t cover here? Then follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there.
For more on Cozart, check out The Baseball Show’s video profile below.
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