Cincinnati Reds – No. 2
August 12, 1985 |
|July 7, 2011 for the Cincinnati Reds|
(through 2014 season)
|Runs batted in||139|
|Competitor for United States|
|World University Championship|
|Gold||2006 Havana||National team|
Cozart attended Collierville High School in Collierville, Tennessee. He played football, basketball, and baseball. He played baseball for the University of Mississippi. He was a third-team All-American while at Mississippi. Zack's Cozart grand parents and great grandparents are of Calhoun County, Miss. His grand parents are Durell and Martha Nell (Murphree) Cozart and his Cozart great grandparents were Emry and Anna (Terry) Cozart. His Murphree great grandparents were Clarence and Mae (Tiner) Murphree.
The Cincinnati Reds drafted Cozart in the second round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, along with other prospects Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco. The Reds started Cozart at a single-A team the Dayton Dragons. He batted .239 in 184 at-bats for Dayton with two home runs and 18 RBI, along with two triples.
Cozart spent 2008 at Dayton as well, this time hitting .280 for a full season. He hit 14 home runs, including two multi-homer games and one grand slam. Cozart drove in 49 runs and hit six triples in 418 at-bats. His performance earned him a trip to the Midwest League All-Star game. Midwest League managers voted him the best defensive shortstop of the year. Cozart led the Dragons in batting average for the season.
He earned a promotion to double-A team the Carolina for the 2009 season. He hit six of his ten home runs in June and drove in 12 runs, earning him the Reds' Minor League Player of the Month honors. He had a 13-game hitting streak from May 28 to June 9, during which he hit four home runs. Cozart finished the season hitting with a .262 batting average, and ten homers and 59 RBI. He also had two triples and ten stolen bases. His performance earned him an invitation to the Arizona Fall League. In 13 games for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL, he hit .340 batting average with two homers, ten RBI, and three stolen bases.
Cozart was invited to the 2010 Major League spring training camp. He spent 2010 with the triple-A Louisville Bats, hitting .255 with four triples and 30 stolen bases. Cozart put up career highs in power with 17 home runs and 67 RBI. He was named a Baseball America Triple-A All-Star for 2010. As one of six players to spend all of the season with Louisville, he led the International League with 553 at-bats and 91 runs, and was fourth in games (136) and fifth in hits and stolen bases (141, 30). He also led all IL shortstops with a .977 fielding percentage. Cozart was rated the 10th-best prospect in the Reds organization.
He was placed on the Reds 40-man roster after the 2010 season, but was optioned to Louisville on March 21, 2011. Cozart enjoyed a hot start to 2011, hitting .310 through his first 77 games. He went 100-for-323 with 26 doubles, two triples, seven homers, and 32 RBI, along with nine steals. The Reds shortstops, Paul Janish and Edgar Rentería, were hitting a combined .226 with one homer and 29 RBI through July 6, and Reds fans everywhere were calling for a change at shortstop. On July 7, 2011, less than 24 hours after an article on Reds.com said there would be no transaction, the Reds optioned Janish and recalled Cozart. Switching uniform numbers from #60 to #2, Cozart started that night at Milwaukee, playing shortstop and batting seventh. In his debut game, he went 1-3 with a run scored. Cozart hit his first home run in the eighth inning off of his college teammate Lance Lynn, on July 17, against the rival Cardinals. Zack had 10 hits in his first 25 Major League at-bats, and at least 1 hit in each of his first 6 games.
On July 23, in a game against the Atlanta Braves, Cozart hyper-extended his left elbow on a play at second. Joey Votto fielded a bunt and threw to second. Cozart covered second and had to reach into the line of the runner, Nate McLouth, to field the throw. McLouth slid into Cozart's arm, hyper-extending his elbow. Replays showed that McLouth would have likely been safe anyway. On August 12, Cozart had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, ending his season.
Zack Cozart was the opening day starting shortstop for the Reds on April 5, 2012. The Reds won that game, 4-0 with Cozart going 2-4. On April 7, 2012, Cozart went 3-4 with a single, triple, and a home run going a double shy of the cycle in the Reds 8-3 loss.
Zack had a down year at the plate, batting only .221 and posting lower offensive numbers in nearly every statistical category. On October 23, 2014, Zack was nominated for the Gold Glove for National League Shortstops.
- Fitt, Aaron (June 13, 2006). "2006 College All-America Team". Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- CBS Sports (October 23, 2014). "Rawlings announces 2014 Gold Glove finalists". Retrieved October 24, 2014.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)