I guess we should start extending the life of the "post-hype sleeper" to the early 30 range after witnessing the tremendous value season put forth by Los Angeles Angels second baseman/shortstop Zack Cozart in 2017. Having seen some initial sleeper attention fall by the wayside due to a string of .250-hitting seasons, Cozart went undrafted in most fantasy baseball leagues this past spring as he entered into his age-32 season. With the Cincinnati Reds in full rebuild mode, it was not even a guarantee Cozart would remain with the team throughout as well. Well, Cozart did wind up staying with the Reds all season and he rewarded them by reaching career-highs in home runs (24), RBI (80), and batting average (.297). The numbers likely would have been even more potent if not for Cozart missing some time with injury. Now despite all the positives, we have to keep in mind Cozart will turn 33 in August and he has been dealing more and more with injuries the last few years. Also, it needs to be noted that Cozart received a somewhat lucky .312 BABIP to help him get the average up to where it went a year ago; calling into question its legitimacy. That would make sense since Cozart still remains just a career .254 hitter and so a jump backward in that category should be expected this season. Finally, expect a dip in offensive numbers based on the fact Cozart moves from one of the best power parks in the game in Cincinnati, to one of the more pitching-leaning locales in Los Angeles with the Angels. While there is no denying the solid player he has turned into, Cozart at his highest value would serve as a top backup second baseman/shortstop for 2018.
2018 PROJECTION: .276 22 HR 77 RBI 62 R 4 SB