Cosart: Being drafted by Red Sox is 'surreal'

Righty was 5-3 at Seminole State, older brother is starter with Astros

Cosart: Being drafted by Red Sox is 'surreal'

Still in his infancy as a pitcher, Jake Cosart already throws a fastball that can reach 98 mph. Those who have watched him up close wonder with excitement how good he will be once he really learns how to pitch.

The Red Sox used their first pick on Day 2 of the First-Year Player Draft by selecting Cosart in the third round (No. 103 overall). The right-hander only recently converted to being a pitcher and has the ability to make big strides as he gets more innings under his belt.

"It's a dream come true to first of all get drafted, but to be a part of arguably the best organization in baseball, it's surreal, honestly," Cosart said by phone. "I was hoping an upper-level organization would take me, and it just so happened to be the Red Sox, so I'm pretty blessed and happy at the moment."

Cosart's older brother, Jarred, is currently a starter with the Astros.

"He's been a pretty big inspiration," Jake said of Jarred. "He got passed up until really late in the Draft. He said, 'I want to play baseball, so I'll still roll with it.' And he worked through every level of the Minor Leagues. He got up there, and it's been a big inspiration to me."

Now, Jarred will root on his brother during his upcoming development.

"I said, 'It's not all glamour. There's going to be ups and downs, you're going to have your tough times, just like in college, and you have to fight through it,'" said Jarred Cosart. "I told him, 'You've got to work hard and advance.' At each level he advances, he gets better. But I said, 'You'll be surprised when you start short-season or rookie ball, it's not the best, with the travel and everything like that.' I think he's prepared for it, mentally and physically.

"It's all on him now. He put in all the work growing up, his parents drove him around everywhere, and his college coaches pushed him, and now it's time for him to grab the bull by the horns. He's got some work to do, and he knows that. I think they've already told him what they want him to work on. I know he's more than capable, and now it's all on him."

Jake Cosart is a hard thrower who went to Duke as an outfielder and red-shirted last year before moving on to Seminole State, where he emerged into a dominant performer on the mound.

"He's always had a really good arm," said Red Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. "Transferred out to junior college, and then I think that's where he really started to take off. We saw him in the fall. I think what was the most appealing thing about him was he was a really good athlete and had a really quick arm. Probably one of the quickest arms I've seen.

"In the fall, he was throwing pretty big [velocity] out there, but it wasn't really consistent in the strike zone. As you see him in the spring, all the sudden it's starting to click a little more. He's starting to throw more strikes, the breaking ball, especially. You walk in there one day and it would be an inconsistent breaking ball. Then another day, he'd be throwing strikes pretty consistently in and out of the zone. I wouldn't necessarily call it a project by any stretch of the imagination, because this kid has a pretty good feel and it's a pretty fresh arm. He's not your advanced college pitcher, either."

Cosart is now all-in with the switch to pitching.

"It was a little bit of a transition," said Cosart. "It was pretty difficult not to play every day. But then again, as I get more experience and innings, it's becoming a lot easier. It will be interesting to see, once I get into the Red Sox organization, how I progress with solely focusing on pitching."

His coaches from Seminole State will be sure to follow that transition after investing so much of their time into his development this season.

"He came in with us as an athletic kid who hadn't pitched much at all," said Seminole State assistant baseball coach Doug Freeman. "He's got one of the quickest arms I've ever seen or played with. It was one of those things where he was so athletic, it took him a while to get a feel for pitching and being on the mound. The strides he made from when he got to us to today are just unbelievable."

Jake Cosart is the first to admit he is still evolving as a pitcher. Aside from the upper-90s fastball, he has a solid curveball. His changeup is still a work in progress, and it could ultimately be the determining factor in whether he can make it as a starting pitcher.

"He's just scratching the surface on the potential he has in there," said Freeman. "Realistically, he's like a high school arm. He's still learning how to pitch. With a few more years of refining that ability, the sky's the limit."

Even without a third pitch, Jake Cosart has the type of raw stuff that could make him a viable option out of the bullpen.

He was considered one of the top junior-college prospects in this year's Draft. It is impressive, considering he didn't even pitch much in high school.

"I probably totaled around 20-something innings between my junior and senior year," said Jake Cosart.

After a while, it simply became apparent to the younger Cosart that he projected as a pitcher.

"I kind of knew my future was on the mound, because of my arm strength in the outfield," he said. "I just never knew how to put it all together, and this year, I finally started learning a little bit about myself and my delivery and sequences and all the good stuff that goes into pitching. This year, I made the change. I said, 'I want to play baseball as a career, so the best way to do it is pitching.' So I stuck with it."

Jake Cosart appeared in 13 games for Seminole State this season, going 5-3 with a 5.34 ERA, while notching 67 strikeouts in 64 innings.

The 20-year-old is listed at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds.

After watching the Red Sox develop pitchers like Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon and Clay Buchholz, Jake Cosart hopes he can follow in line.

"The Red Sox have always been storied for progressing and developing young pitchers, and obviously you see what they have now -- world champions," he said. "I couldn't be part of a better organization, as far as a development standpoint. That's what I'm really excited about."

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 1 p.m. ET.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.