2008 Cardinals Prospect #16 – Pete Kozma

2008 Cardinals Prospect #16 – Pete Kozma

All eyes are on the 2007 first-round draft pick, especially after his so-so introduction to the professional ranks. How far will the 19-year-old progress in his first full season?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: NA

Position: SS

DOB: 4/11/1988

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 170

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: Owasso High School (OK)

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the first round (18th overall) of the June, 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

2007 stats

Tm

AVG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

OBP

SLG

OPS

GCL

0.154

13

4

2

0

0

0

0

2

2

0

0.267

0.154

0.421

JY

0.264

106

16

28

8

0

2

9

12

21

3

0.350

0.396

0.746

BAT

0.148

27

1

4

0

1

0

2

1

7

1

0.179

0.222

0.401

Tot

0.233

146

21

34

8

1

2

11

15

30

4

0.313

0.342

0.655

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (NR): This is undoubtedly my most controversial ranking or non-ranking, to be more accurate. How can you not put the Cardinals' newest first round selection in your Top 40?

Well, as my ranking philosophy indicates, I am being far more cautious in ranking the newest draftees than I did in the past. It was very difficult for the 2007 draft class to get one of my Top 40 rankings based solely on their draft slot/projected upside. Those few that did demonstrated something on the field as well. I fully expect Kozma to be in my 2008 Top 40.

Dustin Mattison (8): The Cardinals' first-round pick in 2007, Kozma was heralded as the best shortstop in the draft. Kozma has above-average tools across the board except for power although he does show occasional pop. The Cardinals believe the power will come with maturity while some scouts have their doubts. The 19-year-old shows a mature approach at the plate and the ability to hit to all fields.

Although he struggled on defense in his professional debut, Kozma shows impressive range, good hands and quick release as well as a strong arm. Going into the draft, scouts praised his makeup and consistency.

Some have slammed the Cardinals for this pick calling the team "cheap". Kozma was the best shortstop available and middle infield is where the Cardinals' system is the weakest. Kozma may not be flashy but with great makeup and a good work ethic, he could become the Cardinals' every-day shortstop, quieting all the naysayers.

Ray Mileur (16): The Cardinals surprising first round pick in the 2007 draft didn't get off to a quick start in his professional career. For one, he didn't sign almost August and then he hit a combined .233/.313/.342 in 42 games between the GCL Cardinals, Johnson City in the Appalachian League, and Batavia in the New York-Penn League.

The Cardinals are sold on Kozma's athleticism and his mental makeup. He plays hard and plays the game right. Once Kozma gets a full season under his belt in 2008, he should begin to deliver on the promise and potential that I have been convinced that he possesses.

Brian Walton (8): There was a reason the very athletic Kozma was labeled the best shortstop in the 2007 draft - as a high-schooler, no less. He offers great instincts, range in all directions, a soft pair of hands and an above-average arm. What's not to like about that? It also means we shouldn't be seeing Kozma's value artificially limited by a position change down the road.

Offensively, we all need and expect to see more in 2008. There is plenty of time however, as Kozma is the youngest player in our top 25 and fifth-youngest in our top 40. Perhaps with more comfort and a chance to start fresh in spring training, Kozma can relax and let his aggressiveness at the plate come through.

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

To see our entire list of 40 prospects as they are unveiled daily, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

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