The Miami Marlins handed Jarred Cosart a spot in the starting rotation this season after he made it through Spring Training without allowing a run. A closer look at his numbers may have suggested pause, but still: no runs! Predictably, Cosart struggled on the mound once the games started counting, posting a putrid 7.98 ERA in 14.2 innings across three starts. He faced 74 batters, allowed 14 runs on 16 hits, walked 15, threw two wild pitches, and struck out only eight. All in all, he showed no touch on his pitches and no way of getting major-league hitters out.
His three big league starts this season lasted 4.2 innings, 5.2 innings, and 4.1 innings. His starts always ended up as bullpen days for a ‘pen that was taxed early in the season by other short starts as well. Cosart did not have a single start where he struck out more batters than he walked, with his April 11 start (3 walks, 3 strikeouts) coming the closest. The most damning numbers, however? For the season, Cosart was sporting a 4.91 K/9 and a 9.20 BB/9. Neither of those rates are good, and the two combined are legendarily awful. So, after a six-walk, one-strikeout performance, the Marlins sent Cosart down to Triple-A New Orleans to “work on things.”
In his three minor-league starts this season, Cosart has shown slight improvement, but still nothing to be even remotely excited about. He has faced 64 batters over 14.1 innings, allowing five runs on 16 hits, walking seven and striking out ten. He lasted 5.0 innings in his first start, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, striking out six. In his next start, he lasted a season high 6.0 innings, earning the win by allowing no runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out three. His most recent start was his roughest since the demotion, as he lasted only 3.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks with only one strikeout.
Cosart’s rates look a little better against Triple-A hitters, with a 6.28 K/9 and a 4.40 BB/9. The K/9 is still a bit low, but would be acceptable from a pitcher with impeccable control. The 4.40 BB/9 shows just the opposite though, and it way too high for a pitcher of Cosart’s type.
It seems Cosart still has plenty of work to do before he gets an invitation back to Miami and the Marlins’ 25-man roster. He needs to throw a lot more strikes and needs to find a pitch he can use to put away batters when he gets ahead. With his replacement, Justin Nicolino, doing fine at the big league level every fifth day, it would presumably take a few injuries to members of the starting rotation before Cosart climbs back onto a major league mound.