Prospect Smackdown: Brody Colvin vs. Jarred Cosart
The Phillies have a pair of very intriguing young right-handed pitchers in Brody Colvin and Jarred Cosart. Per reader request, let's compare these two with a Prospect Smackdown.
Background and Intangibles
Colvin: Brody Colvin was drafted in the seventh round in 2009, out of high school in Lafayette, Louisiana. His draft position was deceptive: he was considered a possibility for the late first or early second round, but had a firm commitment to Louisiana State. The Phillies bought him away from college for $900,000. His 2010 season was quite successful, with above-average performance and considerable in-season improvement for Lakewood in the South Atlantic League. He has good mound presence and seems fearless, but also ran into trouble with the law last winter, and there have been grumblings about negative makeup off the field.
Cosart: Jarred Cosart was drafted in the 38th round in 2008, out of high school in League City, Texas. His draft position was very deceptive: he was considered a third or fourth round talent but had a firm commitment to the University of Missouri. The Phillies bought him away from college for $550,000. Injuries limited him to just 24 innings in 2009 and 71 innings for Lakewood last year, but his performance has been very good when he's been on the mound. He's confident on the mound, but scouts have complained about negative makeup off the field and a shaky work ethic.
Advantage: Although Colvin had a higher profile as an amateur, both pitchers were well-known to scouts and would have gone much earlier in the draft if not for their college commitments. Both of them have behaved in such a way off the field as to raise significant makeup questions, but both are young enough to outgrow such issues. Seems even to me.
Physicality, Health, and Tools
Colvin: Colvin is a 6-4, 195 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born August 14, 1990. Athletic and with ideal size for a pitcher, he can hit 96-97 MPH at his peak and works comfortably at 92-94. Both his curveball and changeup are sometimes above average, but both need more consistency, which is hardly unusual given his age, and both pitches are improved compared to where they were in high school. He could end up with three plus pitches in time. His mechanics aren't perfect but are smoother than they were in high school. He throws strikes and is reasonably efficient for a young power pitcher. He has had no significant health issues.
Cosart: Cosart is a 6-3, 180 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born May 25, 1990. He is very athletic and still has projection left in his body, but already throws 93-98 MPH, with sinking action on the fastball. His curveball is average to above-average and is expected to continue improving, while his changeup needs additional work. He has a clean delivery, but despite that he's had problems staying healthy, missing time with a sore shoulder in 2009 and a sore elbow in 2010. He throws strikes and is reasonably efficient for a young power pitcher. He is reportedly healthy entering spring training.
Advantage: Cosart throws slightly harder and has a bit more movement on his fastball. At its best, Colvin's curveball is probably a bit better than Cosart's, but Cosart's is more consistent. Both of them need to work on their changeups, though both of them could have/should have good ones in time, given their aptitude for pitching. Both pitchers throw strikes most of time. Colvin is a good athlete but Cosart is an excellent one. Cosart's mechanics are cleaner than Colvin's, but Colvin has a better health track record so far. This is extremely close, but Colvin's better health record puts him just hair ahead.
Colvin: Colvin posted a 3.39 ERA with a 120/42 K/BB in 138 innings for Lakewood last year, with 138 hits allowed and a 1.25 GO/AO. His FIP was 3.23.
Cosart: Cosart posted a 3.79 ERA with a 77/16 K/BB in 71 innings for Lakewood last year, with 60 hits allowed and a 1.93 GO/AO. His FIP was 2.13.
Advantage: On a per-inning basis, Cosart's component ratios were superior to Colvin's at the same level last year, resulting in an FIP more than a full run lower. However, Colvin has had an easier time staying healthy.
Colvin: Colvin has the ability to be a number two starter at the major league level, perhaps even a number one workhorse if everything goes perfectly and all three of his pitches reach their maximum potential.
Cosart: Cosart has the ability to be a number two starter at the major league level, perhaps a number one if he stays healthy enough.
Advantage: I think Cosart's physical potential is just hair better than Colvin's due to his superior athleticism, but they are both really close and Colvin could be more durable. Overall I think you have to call this even.
I call them even on intangibles, Colvin slightly ahead on physicality/health due to greater durability so far, Cosart ahead on current performance on a per-inning basis, and even on projection. In the book, I gave Colvin a Grade B+ and Cosart a Grade B due to Colvin's better health record. If Cosart can have a healthy 2011 season, he's certainly capable of pulling even or moving ahead of Colvin. If they maximize their potential and avoid injury, both of these guys could be Top Ten pitching prospects a year from now.