Another Cosart Brings The Heat

Brett Oberholtzer is a promising young left-hander who, as a rookie, posted the second-best ERA (2.76) among starters who made at least 10 starts in the Astros’ beleaguered rotation in 2013.

He’s also a talented recruiter. Thanks to him, Christmas came early at his alma mater.

Oberholtzer has become good friends with Jarred Cosart, another rookie who led Houston’s starters with a 1.95 ERA last season. So when Cosart’s younger brother Jake was looking to transfer from Duke and find an opportunity to pitch, Oberholtzer suggested Seminole State (Fla.) Community College. He pitched there as a freshman in 2008, before the Braves selected him in the eighth round of the First-Year Player Draft that June.

After talking with Mike Nicholson, Oberholtzer’s former head coach who’s back in charge of the program after a stint as an assistant athletic director, Cosart was sold on the Raiders. And now Seminole State may have the most intriguing junior college prospect for the 2014 Draft.

“We really didn’t have a whole lot of info on him until he contacted us,” Nicholson said. “But he’s consistently throwing 95 mph and bumping 96s and 97s all the time. The boy’s got a good arm.

“We told Obie, ‘You’ve done your alumni duty for the rest of the year.’ ”

Cosart’s sudden transformation into an early-round prospect for 2014 is remarkable, considering where he stood the last two seasons. Coming out of Clear Creek High (League City, Texas) in 2012, he did nothing to entice scouts to even consider trying to buy him away from his Duke commitment.

Cosart was a skinny outfielder who wasn’t physically ready for pro ball. Though he had been clocked at 98 mph from the outfield at the 2011 Perfect Game National showcase, he was deliberate on the mound and threw just 86-87. He never got on the field during the 2013 season at Duke, which prompted him to transfer.

Cosart needs innings, and he’ll get them at Seminole State. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound right-hander has obvious fastball velocity, but his curveball, changeup and command are all works in progress.

“He’s going to learn on the job,” Nicholson said. “The great thing about junior college ball, especially here in Florida, is the non-conference schedule won’t deterimine if we get into the playoffs. He can get a lot of innings in.”

Jake isn’t the only Cosart on Seminole State’s roster, nor is he the only prominent transfer from an Atlantic Coast Conference program. Freshman Jansen Cosart will start at third base, while former North Carolina State right-hander Gianni Zayas is creating some draft buzz of his own.

Zayas, who’s 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, is more polished and physically developed than Cosart. Zayas works from 92-95 mph with life on his fastball, and both his curveball and slider are solid breaking pitches.

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