When the Miami Marlins sent their top-third base prospect Colin Moran, outfielder Jake Marisnick, pitching prospect Francis Martes and a 2015 compensatory draft pick to the Houston Astros in exchange for right-handed starter Jarred Cosart, outfielder Enrique Hernandez and outfielder Austin Wates, some fans questioned the team’s wisdom in again dealing their top-third base prospect away. If Tuesday night’s performance by Cosart is any indication of what’s to come, Miami will come out looking smart in the move.
On Tuesday night, Cosart made his second start for the Marlins against the defending National League champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. The situation wasn’t void of pressure. Miami came into the game having won three out of four, with a chance to win its second consecutive series and stay in the hunt for one of the National League’s two wild card spots. On top of that, St. Louis was throwing its ace Adam Wainwright, who had the best road earned run average in all of Major League Baseball.
With those circumstances weighing on his shoulders, all Cosart did was pitch seven shutout innings on 102 pitches. He allowed three hits, striking out three and only walking one to get the win as the Marlins defeated the Cardinals 3-0. What could this mean for Miami going forward?
Immediately, it should raise the confidence level of not only Cosart but the team as well. That statement should be tempered somewhat, as the St. Louis offense has been unimpressive so far this season. However, having the knowledge that Cosart can go up against a No. 1 starter from the opposition and get a win can go a long way for the psyche of the club.
Momentum is a very real force in baseball and the performance of Cosart helps build on that for the Marlins. With 43 games remaining on Miami’s regular season schedule and the Marlins within 3.5 games of the second wild card spot, hopes are very much alive of grabbing that berth. If Cosart can continue to churn out quality starts like Tuesday night’s, that improves the Marlins’ chances of qualifying for the postseason.
Whether Miami makes the playoffs in 2014 and/or how they go if they get there aside, there are implications beyond this year. A healthy, productive Cosart could help keep this team in contention for years to come. Cosart is only 24 years old, in just his second year of Major League service, won’t be arbitration eligible until 2017 and won’t be eligible for free agency until 2020. Considering the Marlins’ limited financial resources, he could represent great value.
After the All-Star Break in 2015, a healthy Miami rotation could look like Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez, Jarred Cosart, Tom Koehler and Nathan Eovaldi. Where in that rotation Cosart falls will be determined by how well he produces. If most of his outings look like Tuesday night’s, there’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t become one of the better No. 3 pitchers in the National League.