Diamondbacks finding value in prospects where others find flaws
Not all prospects are gold-plated blue-chippers. Occasionally, the ones that impress us the most once they arrive are the complete surprises, like they have come from the land of misfit toys.
The D'backs have a couple of them in Collin Cowgill and Paul Goldschmidt. Or, we should say, the D'backs
Think of them as the chippy Charlie-in-the-Box (Cowgill) and the big purple elephant (Goldschmidt).
Their minor-league numbers are becoming just too good to ignore, regardless if the scouts have some bones to pick with them. This combo is reportedly going to be contributing in the majors for fantasy owners, sooner than later.
"We're kind of approaching that time to where we'll make some decisions on people in our system," Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told
"We want to make sure that with any of our young players, especially guys like Goldschmidt or Cowgill, when they come up, we want them to play."
It is not like the D'backs, amid a pennant race with their rebuilt pitching staff, couldn't use the help. The already went to the well on retread Wily Mo Pena as a DH for interleague play, and he homered Tuesday night.
At Goldschmidt's and Cowgill's positions, the needs are far more significant. Juan Miranda is not fooling anyone at first base, hitting just .231, and Gerardo Parra (.275 with four homers and six steals) continues to look like nothing more than a reserve outfielder.
That latter stigma is the one that has been attached to the fiery Cowgill, 25, for so long. Standing just 5-foot-9, Cowgill has been a victim of his stature, and perhaps his own intensity. He has gotten labeled gritty -- perhaps even an overachiever -- but he could be the next Eric Byrnes with speed and pop.
"He really has no pride; he really has no ego, other than the drive to be successful," said Triple-A manager Brett Butler, who knows a thing or two about being a dirt-baller. "There are certain guys who could have played in any era. He's one of them. You can pay him $5 or you could play him $50 million and he's going to be the same guy. He's going to give you his heart and soul every single day."
He should be giving that heart and soul to the D'backs and not the Reno Aces. Cowgill has hit .367 with 12 homers, 49 RBI, 67 runs, 24 steals (in 26 attempts) with a .436 on-base percentage and a .594 slugging percentage. Sure, those numbers are inflated because of the dry air in the elevations of the Nevada desert -- go ahead and knock his production but you shouldn't ignore it.
Cowgill, perhaps because the scouts don't tend to be fans of grit and any outfielder under 6-feet, is flying well under the radar in fantasy. Just this week, he was finally owned in at least one percent of CBSSports.com's leagues. The story about a potential call-up has ticked him up to 3 percent.
Frankly, Rotisserie fantasy owners should be all over Cowgill Dee Gordon- and Jemile Weeks-style. Those two are owned in about 40 percent of leagues, basically what amounts to all Rotisserie leagues. Cowgill can make a bigger impact than either because he has pop -- despite his size -- to go with his steals potential.
Goldschmidt, 23, meanwhile, has neither had a scout's scorn with size, nor a scout's smile with speed. He is just a big galoot, standing 6-feet-3 and weighing 245 pounds, that hits bombs.
After posting eye-opening power numbers in the hitter-friendly California League last season (.314-35-108-102-5, .384-.606), everyone was more apt to point to his 161 strikeouts in 138 games. The fear was he would never make enough contact against upper-level pitching and those homers would happen far too infrequently.
Well, Goldschmidt has trimmed his strikeout rate to 53 whiffs in 70 Double-A games and he has managed to go .328-22-61-56-6 (.450-.656) in 250 at-bats in a far more pitching-friendly Southern League. You have to take notice now. Mr. Miranda is in Arizona, you can be sure of that.
Goldschmidt is becoming everything Brandon Allen, 25, should have been already. Allen is the reason Goldschmidt is stuck back in Double-A and Allen is holding his own at first base in Triple-A (.294-12-47-60-6, .424, .529).
But Allen is the devil we know, and don't care much for, in fantasy. He is owned in four percent of leagues. Goldschmidt is the devil we don't, but we're getting excited about (15 percent ownership).
D'backs GM Towers has already dipped into the farm on Pena (above) with instant results. It might not be much longer before we get to see the likes of Cowgill and Goldschmidt in our fantasy lineups, too. They are a pair of misfit toys with whom fantasy owners shouldn't mind playing.