Posted: Dec 18, 2012 6:01 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2012 6:04 PM
Former Kentucky first-team All-America outfielder Collin Cowgill has been traded from the Oakland Athletics to the New York Mets, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon.
A native of Lexington Ky., Cowgill was traded for double-A Mets infielder Jefry Marte, a MLB Futures Game alum. The former Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball out of Henry Clay High School was traded to Oakland during the 2011 offseason after rising to the big leagues in 2011 as a member of the National League Western Division Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Cowgill, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound right-handed hitter was originally picked by the D-Backs in the fourth round out of UK in the 2008 MLB Draft.
Cowgill, who starred at UK from 2005-08, was limited to 38 games with the Athletics in 2012, suffering an ankle injury after breaking spring training as a member of the opening-day roster. Cowgill hit .269 (28-for-104) with the Athletics in 2012, with two doubles, one homer, nine RBI and three steals, sporting a .336 on-base percentage. He battled for playing time on the eventual division champion Athletics with veteran outfielders Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick, with the trio enjoying breakout seasons. Cowgill also played in 63 games in triple-A in the Oakland system in 2012, hitting .250 (67-for-268) with 33 runs, 17 doubles, one triple, four homers and 37 RBI, stealing eight bases.
Cowgill made his MLB debut on June, 26 2011 with the D-Backs, batting .239 (22-for-92) in 36 games as the primary starting leftfielder against left-handed pitching for a Arizona team stocked with outfield talent in Gerrardo Parra, Justin Upton and Chris Young. He hit a homer and had nine RBI with three doubles in 2011 with the D-Backs, adding two RBI in the playoffs. His MLB debut came after a breakout season in the Pacific Coast League with the Reno Aces, winning PCL Rookie of the Year honors. In 98 triple-A games in 2011, Cowgill hit .354 (140-for-395) with 95 runs, 24 doubles, eight triples, 13 homers, 70 RBI and 30 steals. After the season, the managers in the circuit voted Cowgill as the most exciting player, best defensive outfielder and best base runner in the annual Baseball America survey of the best tools in each minor league.
The 2008 first-team All-America outfielder will join a New York outfield that includes young players Mike Baxter (.263/.365/.413 in 2012), Lucas Duda (.239/.329/.389), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.253/.315/.376) and utility man Jordany Valdespin (.241/.286/.424). Baxter, Duda, Nieuwenhuis and Valdespin are each left-handed hitters.
During his storied four-year career at Kentucky, Cowgill helped UK win its first ever Southeastern Conference Championship as a sophomore in 2006, batting .298 (67-for-225) with 16 homers and 61 RBI. After missing 2007 due to a hand injury, Cowgill returned for an All-America campaign in 2008, joining fellow All-America selection Sawyer Carroll in the outfield. Also a first-team Academic All-America selection, Cowgill batted .361 in 2008 with 15 doubles, two triples and 19 home runs, adding 60 RBI, stealing 23-of-27 bases in 2008. Following the 2008 season, Cowgill earned first-team All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and second-team honors from Rivals.com and Baseball America. During his UK career, Cowgill batted .306 (171-for-558) in 165 games, totaling 166 runs, 35 doubles, 37 homers, 140 RBI and 32 stolen bags.