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Pete Kozma: Signs Of Life?

For much of his unimpressive minor league career, the Cardinals' 2007 first rounder, shortstop Pete Kozma, has been best known as one of the many players who was taken before the Tigers finally stopped the slide of high school superprospect Rick Porcello. After unassuming seasons in 2007 and 2008 Kozma was inexplicably rushed to AA Springfield in early 2009, where he had one of the worst seasons of any Cardinals prospect in recent memory; once there he hit .216/.288/.312, which is truly Pedro Feliz-ian. 

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In 2010, the prospect sheen now well off him, Kozma became even more anonymous—Rick Porcello, his raison d'etre, has had his own disastrous season, and now instead of being Sam Bowie he's just Pervis Ellison. But after a rough start, Kozma's bat is finally proving its AA aptitude. 

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Still just 22, Kozma's hitting .252/.322/.407 in his second go-round at Springfield, with a surprising 13 home runs. His August has been especially torrid; he's at .320/.354/.640, with five of those home runs and seven doubles. This still isn't what anyone hoped to see from the Cardinals' first round pick, and the defense for which he was drafted remains mystifyingly inconsistent, but if Porcello has another ugly start in 2011 they might at least hit AAA at the same time, which would certainly have surprised me three years ago. 

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More to the point, Pete Kozma reaching AAA would have surprised me just one year ago. 

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