Cozart with the Cincinnati Reds
|Los Angeles Angels – No. 7|
August 12, 1985 |
|July 7, 2011, for the Cincinnati Reds|
(through June 7, 2018)
|Runs batted in||298|
|Career highlights and awards|
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.
The Cincinnati Reds drafted Cozart in the second round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, along with his fellow 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 the double-A team Carolina Mudcats 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 Édgar 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 hyperextended 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, hyperextending his elbow. Replays showed that McLouth would likely have been safe anyway. On August 12, Cozart had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, ending his season. In 11 Major League games, Cozart batted .324 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI.
Cozart was named 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. In 138 games, he finished the year with a .246 batting average, 33 doubles, 15 home runs, and 35 RBI.
In 2013, Cozart had a NL-leading 10 sac flies along with a .254 batting average, 30 doubles, 12 home runs, and 63 RBI in 151 games played. 
Cozart 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. In 147 games, he had 4 home runs and 38 RBI.
In 2015, Cozart got off to a solid start, batting .258 and hitting 9 home runs in 53 games. On June 10, during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Cozart slipped on first base, tearing ligaments and the biceps tendon in his right knee. He would need surgery following the injury, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.
On April 4, 2016, Cozart batted leadoff on opening day for the Reds and went 3 for 3 with 2 doubles and an RBI in a 6-2 win over the Phillies. He finished 2016 with a .252 batting average while hitting a career high 16 home runs and 50 RBI's in 121 games. Despite all that, Cozart was still hampered by the complications from the surgery on his knee in 2015, which eventually caused him to miss the final 3 weeks of the season.
Cozart had another career year with the Reds in 2017, batting .297 and setting career highs in home runs (24), triples (7), and runs scored (80), while tying a career high with 63 RBI's in 122 games; he was voted to his first-ever all-star game as a player and a starter for the NL. However, he played through most of the season with a quad injury, which caused him to serve two stints on the disabled list. He became a free agent after the season.
Los Angeles Angels
- 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.
- Adams, Steve (June 11, 2015). "Zack Cozart To Miss Rest Of Season Following Knee Surgery". Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- Weinrib, Ben (December 15, 2017). "Angels sign Cozart to three-year deal". MLB.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
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