Friday, February 19, 2016

Meet a Prospect: Pete Kozma

The New York Yankees snatched up a member of the St. Louis Cardinals this winter when they signed shortstop/infielder Pete Kozma to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. That we know but I am venturing that many of us Yankees don’t know much more about Pete other than what baseball Reference tell us and the information that these blogs keep recycling over and over again. That’s where The Greedy Pinstripes come in. This is Meet a Prospect, the Pete Kozma Edition.

Peter Michael Kozma was born on April 11, 1988 and spent his amateur baseball career playing for Owasso High School in Oklahoma. There as a member of the school’s baseball team the infielder caught the eye of the St. Louis Cardinals who drafted him in the first round of the 2007 MLB First Year Players Draft. Kozma was set to begin his professional career with one of the more storied franchises in all of Major League Baseball.

In Kozma’s first professional season, the same season he was drafted in 2007, he played for three of the Cardinals minor league affiliates hitting a combined .233 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 42 games. Kozma followed that up with a .258 average, five home runs and 50 RBI in 123 games played in 2008 while adding the stolen base, 12 SB’s in 18 attempts, to his repertoire. Kozma put up similar numbers in 2009 and 2010 before finally getting the opportunity to reach the Major Leagues in 2011. Kozma was called up on May 18, 2011 and played in 112 games that season as he replaced an injured Nick Punto. Kozma was also placed on the 2011 Cardinals postseason roster and helped the team win the 2011 World Series over the Texas Rangers.

Kozma began the 2012 season back in Triple-A before the team called him up to replace another injured middle infielder, this time Rafael Furcal, on August 31, 2012. Kozma was once again added to the postseason roster and once again made an impact in the NLDS hitting a home run and driving in five RBI in the Game Five victory over the Washington Nationals.

Kozma became the team’s every day shortstop in 2013 and played in 143 games. Kozma only hit .217 with 20 doubles and a single home run in 143 games but his defense continued to stay on point for the Cardinals. Kozma was once again added to the postseason roster and made a key defensive play in the sixth inning of Game 3 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dodgers infielder Juan Uribe hit a line drive in the hole that Kozma somehow got to and started an inning ending double play that led St. Louis to a 4-2 victory.

Kozma lost his job in 2014 after the Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta as a free agent forcing Kozma to the bench initially. St. Louis then signed second baseman Mark Ellis and plugged Kolten Wong onto the MLB roster forcing Kozma back to Triple-A. Kozma used the time to work out at all infield positions including the catcher position and was up and down between Triple-A and the Major Leagues until becoming a free agent after the 2015 season.

Kozma has your typical shortstop build, he’s 6’ 0” and weighs in at just 170 lbs. Kozma is athletic but not going to give you the 20-30 home run power that many clubs ask out of their shortstops in recent years. Kozma throws and bats right-handed so he may give the Yankees some depth on the bench, can you say Brendan Ryan upgrade, if he makes the club out of spring training. If not, there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal.

Welcome to the family Pete. You have a tendency of being in the middle of things in a big spot and coming up even bigger, we should enjoy you here in the Bronx.


  1. Not trying to be mean, but here's hoping this guy doesn't make the team.

    1. Same here Jeff. We just got rid of one Brendan Ryan, we don't need another. Especially since it would come at the expense of Rob Refsnyder.

    2. Hate to burst your bubble guys but the Yankees picked K. Holder in the draft. Can anyone say "A Younger Ryan"? Another good glove no hit infielder, don't we have a bunch of those guys already? I have never seen a real good Yankee SS that is very good on both sides of the ball! We now have Didi at SS, very good glove and arm and could hit in the .280(?) range...maybe! If he can do that, I would call him the only real good two-way SS I have seen with the Yankees.

    3. I may have misspoke when I compared him to Ryan. Yes currently he is all glove and no bat, live Ryan, but you have to remember that he has only been playing baseball full-time for about a year now. He has a long way to go, although yes I realize he may never develop a bat.

    4. Ok, I'll buy into that. With his glove IF he can hit around .265+ I will be glad to see him at SS or 2nd base or 3rd base(?). The thing is, we have around 5 SS that may be able to do as well+/- with the glove and hit better than .265. If Holders hitting steps up, could he not be our utility man?


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)