Despite winning the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year Award and being a fan favorite, it seems that Chris Coghlan will be the odd man out on the Miami Marlins this spring. Although his .321 batting average as a rookie in 2009 was impressive he has a lot left to prove to make this years team.
Coghlan’s ascension to the Rookie of the Year award was characterized by an incredible run in which he hit over .380 during the final three months of 2009. However since 2009 in which he made 504 at bats, Coghlan has succumbed to injury and since has declined to a having .255 average over 627 at bats since his remarkable three month stretch. This decline can be attributed to a variety of factors including but not limited to instability in regards to learning a new position and the excess stress on the body involved with playing in the outfield unlike in the Minor Leagues and college at the University of Mississippi where Coghlan primarily was situated at second or third base. By being named the Marlins starting center fielder in 2011, Coghlan had to adjust from playing less than two years in left field. This instability, in addition to the stamina and arm strength needed to play in the outfield clearly took a toll on Coghlan’s body. As a result it can be said that it was foolish on the Marlins part to expect Coghlan to maintain his rookie of the year numbers while learning how to play center field well, a position in which he was not familiar with at all. The gruel of learning a new position placed vast wear and tear on his body which in turn resulted in the decline of Coghlan’s offensive numbers. Since 2009, Coghlan has hit better than .270 in only 2 months. By month since his rookie year he has hit .195, .252, .377, .209, .287, .190 and .220.
This information indicates that most likely Coghlan’s 2009 success was an outlier mostly attributed to Major League Pitchers lack of knowledge of his approach at the plate. After the fact, Major League Pitching staffs seemed to have adjusted to Coghlan without an appropriate response from him. This reason coupled with Coghlan’s recent injury history has limited any stability over the course of his Major League career making sustained success difficult. Now, Coghlan is on the outside competing with Bryan Peterson, Aaron Rowand, and Scott Cousins to be the Marlins fourth outfielder since at this point Logan Morrison, Emilio Bonifacio and Mike Stanton round out the outfield. With that being said unless he remains healthy and maintains sustained success in spring training it remains unlikely that Coghlan has a significant role on the team thus making him the odd man out.