- Full name Collin Brannen Cowgill
- Born 05/22/1986 in Lexington, KY
- Profile Ht.: 5'9" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: R / Throws: L
- School Kentucky
- Debut 07/26/2011
Drafted in the 5th round (168th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 (signed for $155,000).
View Draft ReportCowgill missed all of 2007 with a broken hamate bone and has done nothing but hit since returning. He batted .290 in the Cape Cod League last summer, earning all-star honors and helping Yarmouth-Dennis win the championship, after which he turned down the Athletics as a 29th-round pick. Cowgill is just 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, but he plays bigger than his size and tools, which aren't lacking. He has a discerning eye and plenty of bat speed, allowing him to wait on and attack vulnerable pitches. He hit 16 homers in 2006 and 18 more during the regular season this year. He's a slightly below-average runner out of the batter's box and a slightly above-average runner under way, yet his instincts allow him to steal bases and track down most balls in center field. He also has a strong arm for the position. Cowgill's demographics aren't ideal--he bats righthanded and throw lefthanded, and he's 22 after losing a year to injury--but his gritty makeup and the results he gets are reminiscent of Reed Johnson.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The A's drafted Cowgill in the 29th round in 2007, when he was coming off a broken hamate bone that kept him out all season at Kentucky. He decided to go back to school as a fourth-year junior and landed with the Diamondbacks, but Oakland finally grabbed him as part of the Trevor Cahill deal in December. Cowgill put together the best season of his pro career in 2011, earning Triple-A Pacific Coast League all-star recognition and a late July callup to Arizona. He filled the fourth outfielder role for the National League West champs and earned a spot on the postseason roster. Cowgill is the prototypical grinder, the kind of player every manager wants on his team. He has a big bat wrap in his approach that leaves him vulnerable to quality fastballs, and his sweepy upper-body swing leads to struggles with breaking balls too. Yet he makes consistent contact, providing line drives to go with some sneaky power and a fair amount of walks. Cowgill is an above-average runner who can steal bases, succeeding on 34 of 39 attempts last year. He's a solid to plus defender at all three outfield positions and has a strong, accurate arm. He's sometimes compared to Cody Ross for his gamer mentality and bats right/throws left profile. Cowgill may never be a big league regular but should carve out a career as a useful fourth outfielder. He'll compete for a job in the A's new-look outfield in spring training.
Arizona has few legitimate prospects who have significant playing time above the high Class A level, but Cowgill performed well for Mobile in his third professional season. He's a versatile outfielder who can play all three positions with average defense. Cowgill sports the best outfield arm in the system, combining strength with accuracy. It's his top tool and grades at 60 or better on the 20-80 scouting scale. Cowgill also is a slightly above-average runner and an instinctive basestealer. He made great strides in his approach at the plate this year, becoming more selective and working on his swing mechanics. He wraps his bat almost like Gary Sheffield and has a high finish, and he sometimes struggles against good fastball velocity. Cowgill's intangibles are off the charts. He's competitive and has a great work ethic, and scouts frequently observed him working out before games. He probably won't have enough bat for an outfield corner or enough speed to play center field every day, so Cowgill profiles better as a versatile fourth outfielder, but he's a good bet to have a major league career. He is sometimes compared to Cody Ross, primarily for the grinder mentality and the fact that both players bat right and throw left. He'll head to Triple-A this year with the chance for a callup when the need arises.
Cowgill missed the entire 2007 season at Kentucky with a broken hamate bone in his left hand, and he didn't play after June 14 last season because of a hamstring injury. In between, he led the Northwest League with 11 homers in just 20 games in his 2008 pro debut, and opened his first full pro season in high Class A. The Diamondbacks considered sending him to the Arizona Fall League but kept him in instructional league instead. For an undersized player, Cowgill has surprising power. He has great bat speed and takes advantage when pitchers make mistakes. One team official called Cowgill a gamer and compared him to Aaron Rowand with a better swing. Others compare him to Cody Ross. Cowgill has average speed and uses his instincts to steal bases and chase down balls in center field. His arm is solid. Already 23, Cowgill can't let injuries slow his development further. While he holds his own in center field, he ultimately projects as a right fielder. He can get overly aggressive at times and will chase pitches out of the zone, especially with two strikes. Cowgill earned the right to open 2010 in Double-A after hitting well in his two months at Visalia. On a contender, he profiles as a fourth outfielder who can provide righthanded pop and constant energy.
After sitting out the 2007 college season with a broken hamate bone in his left hand, Cowgill hit .290 in the Cape Cod League that summer but declined to sign with the Athletics as a 29th-round pick. Arizona took him 24 rounds higher last year and signed him for $155,000. He again showed aptitude with wood bats, as he led the short-season Northwest League with 11 homers in just 20 games there before getting promoted. One team official calls Cowgill "hitterish." He combines a good approach at the plate with great bat speed, allowing him to consistently put a charge in the ball. He's a confident hitter who will wait on his pitch and crush mistakes. He's also an adept outfielder, with instincts and enough speed under way to play center field, though ultimately he'll probably be better suited to a corner. His arm is average. Cowgill has a couple of things working against him. For one he's already 22, and for another he's just 5-foot-9 and bats righthanded. Arizona brought him to instructional league to focus on cutting down his strikeouts because they'd like for him to hit first or second in the order. The main focus was improving his two-strike approach. The Diamondbacks compare him to Cody Ross for his ability to swing the bat and play anywhere in the outfield. With his age and what he has shown so far, Cowgill will get the chance to jump to Double-A out of spring training.
Minor League Top Prospects
Before the Diamondbacks promoted him in late July, Cowgill was one of the PCL's most exciting players, excelling in all facets of the game. Though he hit just .239 in sparse playing time after the callup, Arizona placed him on its postseason roster. Cowgill hits fastballs with authority but needs to lay off offspeed pitches out of the zone. He has a sweepy swing that doesn't incorporate his legs much, so he doesn't have more than gap power. He has slightly above-average speed and good instincts on the bases. With his good reads and jumps translating into solid range and his above-average arm, Cowgill is capable of playing any outfield position and fits best in right field. He may profile better as a fourth outfielder who plays with a lot of energy than as an everyday player.
Cowgill led the NWL with 11 homers despite playing in just 20 games before moving up to low Class A, where he batted just .249/.346/.358. He doesn't look the part of a power hitter at 5-foot-9, but he has a keen eye, plenty of bat speed and strength in his 195-pound frame. He may be more of a mistake hitter than a slugger, but he has an intriguing all-around package of skills and could develop along the lines of Reed Johnson. Though he's not quick out of the box, Cowgill is a slightly above-average runner once he gets going and has the instincts to steal an occasional base. He also covers substantial ground in center field and has a good arm for the position.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Oakland Athletics in 2012
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Pacific Coast League in 2011
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the Pacific Coast League in 2011
- Rated Best Baserunner in the Pacific Coast League in 2011
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011