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PCL notes: Cowart embracing change

Angels prospect has seen time at all four infield positions with Bees
August 1, 2016

Kaleb Cowart is embracing change.

The Angels' 10th-ranked prospect had been almost exclusively a third baseman since he was drafted in the first round in 2010.

This season, however, Cowart has been a man on the move. In 85 starts with Salt Lake, he's played 51 at third, 13 at first, 12 at second and nine at shortstop.

"It's honestly been great, man," Cowart said. "Any way I can be more versatile and get to the big leagues, I'm more for it. If that means playing a lot of different positions, I'm all for it."

In many cases, it had been a while since Cowart played some of those other positions.

"I played short a little last year, maybe three or four games, and a little bit of left field," Cowart said. "First time this year for first base and second. I played second base my freshman year of high school and haven't played it [again until] this year."

Each of the new positions carries a different challenge.

"It's just different angles," Cowart said. "Shortstop and third are really similar 'cause they're on the left side. But then you go to second and first, and I'm not used to those angles. It's just tough to get those reads. It just takes repetitions. The more practice I get, the sharper I'm going to be."

Cowart said shortstop is his favorite of the new positions, while first base has presented the biggest challenge.

"Knowing what balls to go to and what balls to back off and just let your second baseman have," Cowart said. "When you're playing on the left side or at second base, you're just going to get everything; whatever you can get, you can get. First base, you've got to know where the second baseman is and what balls he can get to easily, and you've got to get to first base where it's not going to put your pitcher to cover first base."

Playing second has not been as difficult as Cowart expected, at least as far as throwing.

"I have a good arm, [so] I thought it was going to be tough at first, but it's not," he said. "I dropped it down, kind of throw underneath."

Just as importantly, all the moving around has not affected Cowart's hitting. He carried a .294/.353/.459 line into Sunday with six homers, 29 doubles, 49 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

"Everything has been good," Cowart said. "Honestly, man, when I play different positions, I think I hit better."

Cowart played in 34 games for the Angels late last season and three more in May. He said he's determined to get back to Anaheim and stay there this time.

"You just realize how much better it is in the big leagues," Cowart said. "No 3 a.m. wakeup calls, chartered flights, the whole nine."

In brief

Banda aid: Left-hander Anthony Banda has gotten on a roll in his last four starts for Reno. The D-backs' No. 3 prospect has allowed two earned runs in each of those outings, striking out 17 and issuing five walks over 26 1/3 innings.

Brock and roll all night: Oklahoma City right-hander Brock Stewart has been almost unstoppable since his promotion from Double-A Tulsa. The Dodgers' No. 18 prospect is 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA in seven starts, striking out 49 and allowing five walks over 42 2 /3 innings.

Flores in bloom: New Orleans right-hander Kendry Flores has been on a steady pace since missing six weeks in May and June due to injury. Overall, the Marlins' No. 15 prospect is 3-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 11 starts and one relief appearance.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to