Making case for Coghlan

Welcome to the national stage, Chris Coghlan.

As much as the Marlins 24-year-old left fielder wants to avoid drawing attention to himself, it’s now unavoidable.

Coghlan officially is among the frontrunners for the National League Rookie of the Year.

With the team in the media glare of New York City, Coghlan’s name is being tossed about for top rookie honors. Coghlan this week has done an interview at the studios of the MLB Network, and ESPN.com is featuring him on its web site.

“I know it comes with the territory,” Coghlan said of the publicity.

Coghlan adds that he will reflect upon individual honors after the season. For now, the left-handed hitting left fielder is striving to help the Marlins reach the postseason.

Still, his numbers are difficult to overlook. And they no longer are. This week, Coghlan picked up the endorsement for top rookie honors from Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

Based on statistics, it’s hard to ignore what Coghlan has been accomplishing. His .305 batting average and .382 on-base percentage are the highest of any N.L. Rookie. Arizona’s Gerardo Parra is batting .291 as is Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee. Both have fewer at-bats.

Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates is an exciting player, and he’s batting .278 with a .356 on-base percentage.

Power numbers may hurt Coghlan. Yet, he has nine home runs and 40 RBIs. Those are highly respectable, considering he is hitting leadoff. His 67 runs scored also are the most among rookies.

Coghlan also on a team still in the playoff mix.

In their histiroy, the Marlins have had two Rookie of the Year winners — Dontrelle Willis (2003) and Hanley Ramirez (2006). Ramirez and Jeff Conine (1993) share the Marlins record for highest batting average by a rookie — .292. Coghlan has a chance to beat that.

In August, Coghlan set a franchise record with 47 hits in a month, the highest by any N.L. rookie since Wally Moon in 1954.

Coghlan’s stiffest competition for the rookie award appears to be Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ, who has a 10-4 record and 2.77 ERA. Happ has the benefit of pitching for a first-place team, and he’s logged 149 2/3 innings over 31 games and 19 starts.

The race appears to be tight, meaning these final weeks will likely determine how the award plays out. The way Coghlan has played of late, his chances are good. It’s encouraging for his supporters that people are taking notice. 

– Joe Frisaro

 

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