HOUSTON — The equivalent of a full season as a starter has seen Clear Creek alum Jarred Cosart go from an admittedly nervous new Houston Astros pitcher to a focused, seasoned mainstay in Major League Baseball.

Cosart’s next turn in the Astros pitching rotation, set for Saturday against Miami, will mark his 30th career start — roughly the total number of appearances an MLB starting pitcher will make in a full season.

Since his MLB debut July 12 last year, Cosart said he has spent more and more time studying the game and watching plenty of game footage to find areas to improve.

“I’ve learned that there’s a heck of a lot more work that you have to put in up here than at the Triple-A level,” Cosart said. “I’ve matured a lot as a pitcher, but there’s also a lot of stuff I want to work on. I’ve started to learn the game at the Major League level and have picked the older guys’ brains a little.”

For a young team in the middle of a massive franchise reboot, Cosart has emerged as one of the Astros’ most reliable players this season. He leads all Astros pitchers in games started with 19 and is tied for the team lead in wins with nine.

Lately, Cosart has been as effective as he has been all season, going 5-1 in his past seven starts. After pitching nearly lights-out in 10 starts last season, Cosart said he has learned that a pitcher can’t just stand pat and hope for more prolonged success.

“Up here, it’s a huge game of adjustments,” Cosart said. “They have to adjust to your game, and you have to adjust to their game, but the bottom line is it all comes down to execution of pitches. If you don’t execute up here, you’re going to be in for some long days.”

After more than a year since arriving in the big leagues, Cosart said the overall experience is much better than the experience on his four-year journey through the minor league system.

“The ball parks, the fans, the travel, the camaraderie with the teammates, the food — just everything is so much better than it was,” Cosart said. “It makes you not want to go back. It makes you want to keep working hard to have all the benefits that come with playing in the Major League.”

Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, Cosart was dealt to the Astros at the trade deadline of the 2011 season, allowing him the unique opportunity to suit up for the team he grew up in League City cheering for.

“It’s a privilege every time I get to go out there and take the mound; win or lose, good or bad, it’s a privilege to go out there,” Cosart said.

Advice for local hopefuls

Cosart’s ascension to the Major League level is one of the latest examples of the combination of hard work and skill coming together to make the dream of playing sports professionally come true for a homegrown Galveston County athlete.

For young local baseball players looking to follow in Cosart’s footsteps, the Astros pitcher said they should first not take school and the experience for granted. And for those dead-set on making baseball a profession, Cosart said hard work and belief in oneself is vital.

“I know there will be plenty of doubters out there that will say you can’t do something, but you just have to set your mind to it and keep working hard,” Cosart said.

One of those Galveston County natives with big league aspirations is Cosart’s own younger brother Jake, who was selected in the third round of last month’s MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.

“We’re all very proud of him,” Cosart said. “He’s ready to hit the ground running on the same path I was. He’s probably a little more ahead of where I was when I was the same age. He got a year of junior college under his belt with a great pitching coach who’s now in the Mets organization as a scout. … I know the Red Sox are excited to have him on board, just as excited as he is to be on board.”

Cosart said the biggest piece of advice he has given his brother is to not look too far ahead and focus on continuing to grow and improve his game.

“If he can focus on one pitch and one day at a time, I think he’ll be on his way before he even knows it,” Cosart said.

Jarred Cosart career stats

Season    W    L    ERA    GS    IP    SO    BB

2013         1    1    1.95    10    60.0    33    25

2014         9    6    4.23    19  110.2    71    47

TOTAL    10    7    3.43    29    170.2    104    82

Contact Sports Editor James LaCombe at 409-683-5242 or james.lacombe@galvnews.com.

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