The Angels have claimed RHP/IF/OF Kaleb Cowart from the Tigers, per a team release. The 26-year-old Cowart has spent his entire playing career with Los Angeles, but was claimed by both the Mariners and the Tigers earlier this offseason. Right-hander J.C. Ramirez has been placed on the 60-day DL to make room for Cowart on the 40-man roster.
The former first-rounder has worked all over the diamond in his four big-league stints with Los Angeles, appearing at 3B, 2B, SS, 1B, and LF in 2018 alone. Now, like Seattle and Detroit before it, the club has plans to try him as a two-way player.
Though Cowart’s yet to make a single mound appearance to this point in his professional career, he appeared to have a bright future there as an amateur. Per Baseball America’s pre-draft scouting report in 2010, Cowart worked in the 91-93 range with his fastball, which had “good sinking life” and was graded as a consensus plus pitch by most scouts at the time. He also featured a hard slider, which he reportedly paired with an average splitter.
At the plate, Cowart has never quite figured it out. In 380 lifetime plate appearances, the Georgia native has slashed a hideous .147/.241/.293 (47 wRC+), and recent returns haven’t been much better. 2018 was Cowart’s worst in a major-league box, and the switch-hitter also struggled to a .287/.333/.457 (just a 105 wRC+ in the high-elevation parks of the PCL) line for AAA-Salt Lake.
Cowart is out of options, so he’ll need to crack the Angels’ 25-man out of Spring or again be sent through the waiver process. A faceless pen, stocked mostly with bargain pickups and journeyman types, should help his cause.