Rising Apple Player of the Week: Collin Cowgill

By Matt Musico

The Rising Apple staff chooses one player to highlight on our site for their outstanding or unique performance for the last week. If  you have a nomination on who should be crowned as the Rising Apple Player of the Week, please let us know! You can leave us a comment, tweet us (@RisingAppleBlog) or make a comment on Facebook.

We are well aware that this week’s games are ones that are perceived as meaningless, but we couldn’t wait to start handing out the Player of the Week award! So, the first installment of this Rising Apple honor is bestowed upon outfielder, Collin Cowgill. Why, you ask? Well, just look at what he’s done in his first 11 at-bats in a Mets uniform:

Feb 21, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets right fielder Collin Cowgill (4) poses for a picture during photo day at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

.545/.615/1.000, 6 hits (2 doubles, 1 homer), 3 RBI, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 stolen bases

It’s safe to assume that in just one week and five games played, Cowgill has already made his mark on this team. When Sandy Alderson traded Jeffrey Marte in exchange for Cowgill this winter, he immediately started talking about his bulldog mentality and all-or-nothing style of play. A majority of the staff picked him as the most likely candidate to have a breakout season, and he’s already well on his way to doing that.

With the current state of the Mets outfield, I was really hoping one of the players Alderson signed would come into camp and have such a good spring that they would have no choice but to instert them into the starting lineup. Out of all the off-season acquisitions made (Cowgill, Andrew Brown, Jamie Hoffmann, Marlon Byrd), it looked as though Alderson was most excited about getting Cowgill from his old buddy Billy Beane in Oakland. When looking at his Major League stats, it was hard for a lot of fans to hop on that bandwagon, especially when they saw his .255/.319/.311 career line in two Big League seasons.

However, the soon-to-be 27-year-old is hungry and ready to prove all his critics wrong. He’s done a little bit of everything this week, getting on base, hitting for power, and using his speed, which is making Sandy Alderson look real good right now. What I’m interested to see play out is how he continues to build upon what he’s done in his first few games with New York. He’s known as someone that is a true gamer, and that’s exactly what this team needs this season.

I’m not saying that the Mets already don’t have gamers in David Wright, Ike Davis, and even Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but Cowgill seems to be in a different league from everyone else. His “I don’t give a crap who you are” mentality is exactly what this team needs, especially with expectations so low from baseball analysts. With Wright departing for the WBC, there’s no doubt Cowgill’s style of play will help keep the foot on the gas pedal over the next few weeks of camp while the Captain is playing for Team USA. Watching him elevate his game to such a high level so early this spring is awesome because it can do one of two things; it will either force the other outfielders auditioning for jobs to do the same, or we will quickly see who is not worthy of contributing to the Big League team this season.

So, here’s to you, Collin. Congratulations on the fast start, and I hope you ride it all the way to the leadoff spot in center field for the Mets on Opening Day.

Honorable Mention: There’s no way not to mention the week that Cory Mazzoni had, as he tallied 5 shutout innings, holding opponents to a .059 BA (1 hit), no walks, and 3 strikeouts.

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