Jarred Cosart is a 19-year-old right-handed starting pitcher with the Phillies' single A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws. A 2008 draft pick, Jarred is currently ranked 8th in the system by Baseball America. Cosart was committed to play college ball at Missouri before he made the decision to sign a pro contract with the Phillies at the deadline in 2008. The team gave Cosart $550,000 in the deal, which is generally big money for a 38th round draft pick. In 3 starts thus far with the BlueClaws, Cosart has a 3-0 record with a 2.65 ERA and has struck out 24 batters in 17 innings. His electric fastball (that regularly touches 96 mph and upward) puts Cosart on a list of key young Phils pitching prospects that made the organization comfortable enough to trade top prospect Kyle Drabek over the off-season.
I had the opportunity to speak with Cosart this week and that interview lies ahead.
Can I get some thoughts from you regarding your hot start here in the 2010 season?
I just came out of spring training and it kind of carried over from there. My goal this year is to stay healthy and do the best I can. Working on little stuff with the coaches, particularly my mechanics a little bit. The success has carried over to the season.
What do you think of your new home, FirstEnergy Park, here in Lakewood, thus far?
Well, we started out on the road, in Asheville and Hagerstown, and...they got about a thousand fans and 200 in Hagerstown, then we come here and it's like a big league spring training park. It's just like the one in Clearwater, if not better. It's a great atmosphere to play in.
What went into the decision to sign with the Phillies after seemingly having your mind made up to play college baseball?
Honestly, after the draft was over I thought there was no chance...I thought college was a lock. And I had no problem with it. I was going to pitch and play outfield there. But the Phillies said, "Hey, we drafted you. We're going to follow you around and whatever happens happens." They made an offer, an investment I can say, at the end of summer and I was pleased to sign with a good organization. It's gone well so far.
Was the convincing factor in signing the dollar value that the Phillies offered?
Definitely not. Money has not been an issue. In college, I had no problem getting an education and I could have maybe (eventually gotten drafted) in the 1st round, if I went to college. Who knows? But, (the Phillies) just showed me that they believed in my ability to give me a number like that. Obviously, getting drafted that late and getting that kind of money is a sign that they had a belief in my ability.
With Joe Blanton around this week, for a rehab outing with the team, were you or other pitchers able to pick his brain and talk about pitching at all?
Not really, he kind of showed up late while we were going through all our stuff and what not. Not really. But it was fun to watch. It's always good to see a big leaguer up close, 'cause our goal is to get where they are.
What is your pitch repertoire like and is there anything specific that you are working on improving?
Fastball, curveball, change up...pretty basic. But they just want me to attack the hitter, 'cause my fastball is my best pitch. I'm working on refining my change up, getting better 'cause the higher up I go, the more I'm going to need that. My curveball is my out pitch. I'm really just working on getting better as a pitcher, growing up as a pitcher, learning about hitters' tendencies and stuff like that and being consistent.
Does pitching coach Steve Schrenk help you with all that?
Definitely. He's been helping me since spring training. He was at double A (Reading) last year, so he knows what it takes to get to the next level. It's good to work with someone like that.
You're ranked at the 8th best prospect in the Phillies system by Baseball America. How does a ranking like that effect your approach or outlook?
It doesn't at all. It's just...all of our goals are to get to the big leagues. It's just a number. It's nice to see. They just look at my tools I guess. That's basically all that is, some tools and some numbers.
I coach Babe Ruth league players, aged 13-15. What advice might you give those players, hoping to improve and play beyond high school, if you had the chance?
Work hard and if that's a goal, just go for it. Give it everything you've got. Work hard. Don't stop till you get somewhere with it.
Growing up in Texas, who was your favorite ball player?
Josh Beckett was my favorite pitcher. He's kind of my idol, you could say. He's from Texas, he went to high school...about 45 minutes from where I am. Kind of a Texas guy and kind of pitches similar I think.
There is always hot music going in the locker room after games. What kind of music might be found in your collection?
I listen to a little bit of everything. I'd say, before a game, I listen to rap and hip hop. But I'm more of a country guy. I've got a lot of country in the iPod.
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