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Reds Fans Love/Hate Relationship with Zack Cozart

9 AM, May 13, 2016
Article by Jacob Geiser

In my 18 years in the city of Cincinnati, I have been a Reds fan for about 10. In those 10 years, I have had a few favorite players: Sean Casey, The Kid, Mike Leake, and Zack Cozart. The Mayor is and always will be my favorite Reds player. There was just something about him that I loved as a kid. When I got older, Mike Leake and Zack Cozart were my boys as came into the league. Even with Leake's shoplifting debacle, he was still my favorite pitcher. As kid playing grade school ball, my favorite positions were shortstop and pitcher, so Mike Leake and Zack Cozart were my favorites be default.

Now, Leake is a Cardinal so that 'favorite player' label is on hold until he moves to a new team. Cozart is now the go to for me. He is an automatic fielder and a solid hitter. However, the city may have a different opinion about Cozart.

Cozart has been one of the best fielder's in the MLB since 2012.
In Cozart's 6 seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, he has been praised and slandered. In his rookie season, he showed promise in all 11 games he played. He was batting .324 until he hurt his wrist and missed the rest of the season. He seemed to be gaining fans through that small stretch; not to mention, the women were slowly but surely failing in love him. In 2012, Cozart batted a respectable .246 with 15 HR's. His average rose in 2013 batting .254, driving in 63 runs which is a regular season best for Cozart. 2014 would be a different ballgame. Cozart had his worst season at the plate batting .221. I remember that year, it was brutal, but I thought to myself people have down years. It's going to be fine. He made up for some of the struggles in the batters box by playing Gold Glove worthy defense at shortstop. Cozart has been one of the best fielders since being named the starting shortstop in 2012, boasting a solid .979 fielding percentage in his career. His career high was last year when he had a .986 fielding percentage, but he only played 52 games. His best when playing in a majority of the 162 game season is .984. However, to some these stats don't seem to matter; people only seem to judge him on his hitting. In my opinion, he has been an above average hitter in his career, and this year he seems to be trending upward. Batting average wise, he is the best on the team with a .330 BA in 26 games played.

Right now, Reds fans can't complain about Cozart because he is playing well. But, what about when his BA starts to drop? Cincinnati sports fans expect perfection from everyone, and it is unfair. Cozart's love/hate relationship is very similar to Andy Dalton's. When Andy got hurt everyone went into panic mode, but why? I thought Dalton wasn't the man for the job because he can't perform under pressure? Well, he shut up some of the critics last season and I expect the same from him this season. If Cozart gets hurt again this season, they would be in trouble at SS. Eugenio Suarez isn't there to backup Cozart this season because he needs to be at 3rd. Cozart is the future at shortstop amidst the rebuilding process in the organization. Fans need to take a step back and appreciate what Cozart brings to GABP every night.

The ladies and I have been fans of Cozart since he joined the club. I hope he spends his entire career in a Red uniform. It is only a matter of time before he gets that Gold Glove award at SS. When he does that I think he will get more respect from the city and the league. I look forward to watching him every night. He may not be as flashy as DatDudeBP but he makes the fundamental plays and the web gems. He still has the potential to be a special player in this organization. Either get on the bus or leave it; the fair weathered fans are very easy to spot. Cozart and Dalton are the kings of that club in Cincinnati.
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