Last Tuesday, the Mets obtained outfielder Collin Cowgill from the Oakland Athletics for minor league infielder Jefry Marte. Honestly, I knew very little about Collin Cowgill and decided to do some research on him to quench my curiosity. Here is what I was able to learn about him as well as some input on Jefry Marte as well.
My first stop was to Baseball America where I was hoping to learn more about what his prospect status was or had been.
Collin Cowgill, Outfielder
Age: 26. Born: May 22, 1986 in Lexington, Ky.
Bats: R. Throws: L.
Career Transactions: Selected by Diamondbacks in fifth round of 2008 draft; signed June 8, 2008 … Traded by Diamondbacks with RHPs Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook to Athletics for RHP Trevor Cahill, LHP Craig Breslow and cash, Dec. 9, 2011.
Cowgill could be just about the perfect reserve outfielder because he defends all three positions, throws well and runs the bases intelligently with 71 steals in 76 tries at the Triple-A level. He won’t offer much in the way of power, and his feel for hitting comes and goes because of a sweepy swing. Cowgill lost nearly 300 points of OPS between and 2011 and 2012 when he switched Pacific Coast League affiliates from hitter-friendly Reno to pitcher-friendly Sacramento.
Before the 2011 season, Cowgill was the No. 11 ranked prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks by BA. Soon after he was traded to Oakland at the end of the year, John Sickels of Minor League Ball had him at No. 10 with a C+ rating saying, “Acquired in Cahill deal with Arizona. Good balance of skills, should be a fine fourth outfielder.”
I took a look at his major league splits and suffice it to say that Cowgill should never grab a bat and make his way toward home plate when there is a righthander on the mound. Never. In sparse major league playing time, Cowgill’s splits are .298/.379/.405 and. .223/.273/.241. He’d seem like a perfect compliment to the left-handed hitting Mike Baxter.
That said, the trade will afford Cowgill the opportunity for more playing time as the Mets juggle an outfield configuration that doesn’t include even one player who has ever logged a full season in the majors.
Together with Jordany Valdespin, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter, the Mets will try to improve on last season’s outfield production which was the worst in the majors by far, and the lowest outfield output in almost two decades for the franchise.
That could change, but given their ongoing spendthrift ways and unwillingness to give any free agent the going market rate, this group is most likely the five outfielders the Mets will break camp with when they head north on Opening Day.
As for what we gave up, Jefry Marte was part of the 16-year old Latin American triumvirate that Omar Minaya signed in 2007 that also included prospects Wilmer Flores and Cesar Puello.
Marte was moving along fairly nicely like the other two, but then stalled in Single-A Savannah while his fellow teammates moved on ahead of him. However a change in his batting stance and hitting approach put Marte back on the right path last season where he was promoted to Double-A at the ripe old age of 20..
Marte showed some signs of life in Binghamton during the 2012 season and he flashed glimpses of the tools that excited scouts in the first place according to Jim Callis of Baseball America. “He was tremendous against lefties, hitting .336/.390/.560, though it’s still not clear if he’ll hit for the kind of power teams like to see from an everyday third baseman.”
Like Cowgill, Marte seems destined to be a role player or part of a platoon. But I would add this one caveat and that’s the fact that he is only 21 and has already played a full season at Double A level against competition 2-4 years older than him. So my final verdict is that this was a good change of scenery trade for both teams, but if you base this on upside only, the A’s win hands down.