Garrett Coooper has a chance to show that he has come full circle after a 2018 season was riddled with injuries. Can the right fielder by the key to the Marlins success this year?
If you have had a chance to see the video of Marlins manager Don Mattingly discuss the decision to send Peter O’Brien to the minors, you get the sense that this may have been one of the most difficult discussions during his time with the organization.
Anybody who has been following the Marlins this spring that knows the competition has been great and that narrowing down 25 players to comprise the Opening Day roster wouldn’t be easy. This organization has gone from one of complete disarray to one that has great potential for the coming season.
And when O’Brien was given the information he would start the year in New Orleans, it meant that Garrett Cooper had come full circle and earned the chance to start the season in right field.
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Cooper batted .395 for the spring and hustled every day. He put in work to erase doubt that the wrist injury he suffered in the second game of the 2018 season may have cost him opportunity to make this ballclub in 2019. The right fielder offers versatility while he can also play first base.
If he hustles and plays hard every day during the regular season like he did in February and March, the Marlins will have a utility player and outfield starter they can rely on.
Cooper could have a season where he hits 15 to 20 homeruns while he locks down the right field position. When we look back two or three years from now at how Cooper was acquired, it might go down as one of the best moves the Marlins ever made.
Cooper was traded to the team along with Caleb Smith in exchange for pitcher Mike King and international bonus pool money. It was the “other” deal with the Yankees that no one really talked about .
If both Cooper and Smith are part of the future of this franchise, the future starts now.
Injury free and eager to put the 2018 season behind them, Cooper should be a solid hitter with power, something the Marlins need in the middle of the lineup. He should be good for 140 games this season. The only thing stopping him is himself. It’s doubtful he will slow down anytime soon.
With his re-emergence on the field this spring, the front office may have found their right fielder for the next few seasons. Cooper hopes this is the restart of what was supposed to be his breakout season at this time last season.