Might the young shortstop experience a breakout year in 2013?
He's not actually as young as you'd think. He'll turn 28 on August 12th during his second full year as the Reds starting shortstop. His 2012 was not spectacular, but he provided pretty good defense at the position. His .975 fielding percentage placed him ninth among MLB shortstops as he committed 14 errors in 138 games.
At the plate, he was thrust into the leadoff spot as a rookie and failed to perform at an acceptable level, getting on-base at just a .262 clip in that spot and .288 overall. It's hard to blame just him though as everyone else who tried to hit first for the Reds failed miserably too. Overall, he did show a little pop in the bat, hitting 15 home runs to go along with 35 RBI and a .246 average.
Cozart is not a star, but he's not a slouch either. Things could be much, much worse. He tied for fifth in the National League in 2012 with a 2.3 WAR. With the addition of Shin-Soo Choo, who will assume the responsibilites at leadoff, Cozart is expected to hit seventh in the lineup. That should take a ton of pressure off his shoulders and allow him to come up with a pretty nice year for Cincinnati. Let's see what the experts have to say.
As you can see, FanGraphs is the most friendly to Cozart. They're expecting a slight raise in average and OBP, while predicting that he will drive in twice as many runs as last year. ESPN also seems to think Cozart's new role in the lineup will lead to a significant increase in ribeyes. Since the Reds won't be relying as heavily on Cozart to get on base this year as they were last year, anything extra they get from him at the seven spot will just be icing on the cake.
Here are the links to past player previews: