Confession, I like Zack Cozart more than his performance merits. I don’t know why, I just do. Maybe it’s just nice to have a regular shortstop for the first time since Barry Larkin.
But he’s not a great player. This is his age-28 season, and at best, he rates as a 2.5 win player. That’s solid. Every winning team has those guys, but he’s average and average is as good as he’s every likely to be. Here’s my best guess for him…
2013 Slash Line: .254/.284/.381
2014 Projection: .255/.290/.390
2013 WAR: 1.9
2014 Best Guess WAR: 2.5
Projected Difference: +0.6 WAR
2014 Floor: 1.0 WAR
2014 Ceiling: 3.5 WAR
Cozart is a player with a reasonably high floor and a low ceiling. His defense is good enough, that it’s almost impossible for him to be valueless, but his offensive skills are limited enough that he’s very unlikely to ever put up an all-star caliber season.
I refuse to list WARs that don’t end in 0 or 5, but I was tempt with Cozart. I think he’ll be somewhere between 2.0 and 2.5, but closer to the latter than the former. His offense gets the “he’s still young” bonus for one more year.
Mostly, we should all be happy that he figures to hit seventh or eighth, which is where he belongs on any good team, and that he’ll be out there grabbing everything that comes his way at short.