Feldman: Pete Kozma has earned right to prove the unprovable

Feldman: Pete Kozma has earned right to prove the unprovable

Feldman: Pete Kozma has earned right to prove the unprovable

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by Brian Feldman / Baseball StL

KMOV.com

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 5 at 12:37 PM

(KMOV.com) -- You never really want to tell someone, in any walk of life, that they can’t do something.  It’s the ultimate disrespect and, frankly, gives that individual motivation to go out and do it.  Thus, making the person who said it couldn’t be done, well, look like an idiot.

But sometimes, there’s enough evidence to support such an argument.  Take Peter Michael Kozma for instance.  Drafted in the first round of the 2007 MLB draft by the Cardinals, his minor league career was less than stellar.  And that’s putting it mildly.

Kozma hit .233 his ‘07, .258 in ‘08, .231 in ‘09, .243 in ‘10, .214 in ‘11 and .232 in ‘12.  That’s six seasons with a combined batting average of just .236 (573 hits in 2,429 at-bats). 

Folks, that’s atrocious.

The former first round pick never found any real traction during his time coming up through the system and - GM John Mozeliak publicly admits - was repeatedly considered to be outright released when the Cardinals needed space on the 40-man roster.

But a funny thing happened on the way to oblivion in 2012.  Rafael Furcal got hurt.  Ryan Jackson couldn’t seize hold of the job.  And so the Cardinals needed someone, anyone, to play shortstop for them down the stretch.  That was all the opening Pete Kozma needed.

Inexplicably, the Oklahoma native hit .333 down the stretch of the regular season, came through with several humongous hits in the postseason and has carried that momentum through the offseason.  He was among the club’s  best hitters in spring training and, here we are in 2013 with Kozma seemingly poised to do the unthinkable once again.  Through three games - yes, I’m well aware it’s just three games - Kozma’s 4-13 (.308 avg) with a crushing home run in Arizona Tuesday night and another big RBI double on Wednesday night. 

Proof he’s going to keep doing this for months on end?  Hardly.  Enough to suggest Mozeliak is going to hold off on acquiring a shortstop until Kozma proves he can’t maintain his steady play?  Absolutely.

Why should Mozeliak dangle the Cardinals high end pitching prospects as trade bait when there’s the possibility, albeit a remote one, that they’ve got the future shortstop right here in house?  At least let this saga play out. 

The optimists would believe this is the beginning of a story that will be told for generations.  A major league shortstop who couldn’t hit a lick in the minors but stuck with it enough to take advantage of an opportunity and ran with it.

The realists would believe this is just that.  A story.  A nice story that will surely end because the strong evidence of 2007-2012 is too overwhelming to ignore.  The odds are heavily in favor of a revert back to the norm.

Whatever happens, one thing is clear though.  Kozma has earned the right to prove the unprovable.  Or rather, attempt to prove the unprovable. 

You at least have to give him that.

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