With a couple of weeks under his belt, Jarred Cosart is likely starting to get a little more comfortable around the Marlins clubhouse. More importantly than the knowledge of where things are located, is success on the mound. The young right-hander has made 3 starts for the Fish so far and is 1-1 with a couple of quality starts under his belt. So what has the Miami Marlins version of Cosart been like thus far?
Fortunately for Miami fans, the results have been rather encouraging. I was curious and decided to take a closer look into his starts to see what seems to work for him, and why he has had some success so far, albeit in a small sample size.
I found a very interesting trend that even dates back to his Houston days. Many young pitchers are taught to keep the baseball down in the zone. Their reasoning is that a low pitch is more likely to result in a groundball rather than a fly ball. Groundballs are less dangerous, likely because your more athletic/better players are playing infield.
That perspective is generally continued through a career, and groundball pitchers are looked at more favorably than fly-ball pitchers. Someone might want to tell Jarred that the opposite may be true for him.
Cosart’s groundball percentage (GB%) during his two quality starts were 40% and 52.4% respectively. His first start in which he allowed 4 earned runs and took the loss, that rate was 64.7%. Granted this is a small sample size so I went back further. In 2014, Cosart has posted a GB% higher than 60% in 9 of his 19 starts. In those 9 starts he has allowed a 4.14 ERA and 25 runs allowed. In his other 10 starts he has a 3.19 ERA in 22 runs allowed.
Even though the runs allowed look fairly close, the gap is largely due to his ability to throw more innings in those starts in which he allows more fly balls. This discrepancy should only grow the more Cosart pitches in Marlins Park, whose spacious outfield is where home run balls go to die. I hope Chuck Hernandez is making Jarred aware of his success when allowing fly balls, as fly balls don’t hurt as much unless they travel very far.
I expect Cosart to actually turn in a solid rest of the season. I was very skeptical of the trade at first, but so far I have seen a pitcher who doesn’t groove many pitches down the middle and challenges hitters to make solid contact which is proving tougher for them to do. If he can continue that trend, success may be on the horizon for the new Marlin.