The "bust" label has been following Kaleb Cowart over the past few years, and the infielder did little to shed that tag during the 2016 season. He began the year with Triple-A Salt Lake, and although his numbers were decent, his .280/.340/.452 slash line certainly didn't jump off the page quite like his 2015 numbers did. Despite the modest production, the switch-hitter got another cup of coffee with the big league club, but the results were largely the same: low batting average, tons of strikeouts and almost no power to speak of. Cowart is only 24 years old, so there is still a bit of potential for development. However, the window of opportunity is closing, as the Angels may not be as patient with Cowart going forward if his bat doesn't translate to the majors.
Cowart was optioned to the Angels' minor league camp Tuesday. Formerly one of the Angels' top prospects, Cowart hasn't been able to make a mark with the big club while appearing in 65 games over the past two seasons, batting just .176/.210/.267. The 24-year-old switch-hitter will presumably serve in an everyday role at Triple-A Salt Lake, but the Angels likely aren't earmarking him for anything more than short-term appointment to the big leagues when injuries thin the infield ranks.
Cowart said Monday that he has altered his swing this offseason in hopes of enhancing his offensive production, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. After slashing .176/.184/.259 in 87 plate appearances with the Angels last season, Cowart will be hoping his newly-tweaked swing can help him unlock some of the potential he once showed as a former high-end prospect. However, barring a miraculous turnaround at the plate during spring training, the 24-year-old infielder will likely spend much of the 2017 season back with Triple-A Salt Lake.
Cowart is out of the lineup Sunday against the Astros, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports. Over the last 30 games, Cowart has put up a dismal .125/.122/.146 line. He'll sit out Sunday afternoon while Cliff Pennington heads out to second base and hits ninth.
Cowart is out of the lineup Monday against the Mariners, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. This marks the third time in four days that Cowart hasn't started. The 24-year-old had been manning the keystone consistently prior to this period, so it's unclear if his role for the rest of the season has changed or if it's just a short-term thing. Gregorio Petit will take his spot in the lineup Monday night.
Cowart is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Mariners, according to Angels VP of Comm. Tim Mead reports. Cowart started nine of the last 10 games for the Angels, but he will be held out Friday for the second time in three days. Gregorio Petit will man the keystone for the Angels on Friday night.