Is Jack Cust the next Ryan Howard?
Stick with me, I’m going somewhere with this.
Ok, post teaser. I am in no way implying that Jack Cust will hit 50+ home runs.
So, what exactly am I saying?
Well, Ryan Howard was stuck behind Jim Thome for years in Philly. During this time all he did was mash. At age 24, Howard was busy creating an OPS of over 1.000 between AA & AAA (including a .604 SLG in AAA) and was rewarded with only a late season call-up. At 25, he found himself back in AAA, with a 1.157 OPS. He was only given a chance with the Phils after an injury sidelined Thome mid-way through the 2005 season. Howard had to wait until 2006, at the age of 26 to get a full-time gig.
Jack Cust was drafted in 1997 and despite slugging his way throughout the minors, he was traded and released numerous times. During this time, his longest MLB stint was 73 AB in 2003. All the while, Cust was racking up homers (196 career minor league HR) and building a top notch OPS (.943 career minor league OPS). In 2006, at the age of 27, Cust put together a spectacular season, hitting 30 HR, racking up an OPS of 1.016 and walking an unheard of 143 times. Currently, Cust is in his second go around with the Athletics and is making the most of his opportunity. In eight major league games this season, Cust has 6 HR, 14 RBI, 7 BB and a 1.410 OPS. This certainly isn’t going to keep, but Cust is out to prove everyone that he is another long-time, overlooked minor league prospect that just needed a home and a chance.