Despite his powerful bat, injuries have plagued Garrett Cooper in his first two years with the Miami Marlins.
When Miami Marlins outfielder/first baseman Garrett Cooper was on the field, at times he showed the production of a player who could hit 30 home runs in a season. It’s the fact that he spent considerable time last season dealing with injuries that has the organization a bit concerned.
Cooper figures to be fighting for a spot on the team’s 26-man roster this spring, hoping to spend time at first base and in the outfield, should he be able to kick the injury bug that has plagued him the past two seasons. He started both 2018 and 2019 in the lineup in right field, but could not stay healthy enough to make a major impact in the middle of the team’s batting order.
And because he cannot remain in the lineup there is doubt about his contributions in 2020.
"“While manager Don Mattingly praised Cooper’s power and hitting prowess at this week’s MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego, he admitted Cooper’s inability to stay on the field has impacted the team’s preparation for next season,” writes Wells Dusenbury of Sun-Sentinel.com."
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Cooper appeared in only 107 games last season.
"“There were numerous injuries, so I think he’s a tough guy to say we can put him in there every day,” Mattingly said. “I think we can look at him now, at this point, as a guy who’s not an everyday, everyday, everyday-type guy. I think it’s more of filling in spots and getting his at-bats if somebody’s hurt.“I think the biggest problem is not knowing if we can count on him to stay on the field. So, we’ve had to kind of move in a direction that we’ve planned that he’s not on the field every day.“[Cooper]’s a big part of us moving forward, but not necessarily the guy that we can pencil in for 150 games or 148 or something.”"
It would have been interesting to see what Cooper and a healthy Brian Anderson could have done the last month of the season. Anderson broke a bone in his hand, which ended a campaign where he hit 20 homers. Getting 55-60 dingers from these two in 2020 would certainly help the need for power in the middle of the order.
The Marlins helped themselves last week by adding Jesus Aguilar to the roster – a player who swings a big bat and can play first base, which is a big hole around the diamond at Marlins Park.
"“Obviously, our offense was not very good and we have to get better,” Mattingly said. “So [Aguilar] is an upgrade offensively for us — a guy that gives us thump, has power, a guy that has home run capabilities, but also a guy that’s driven in runs and hit for a decent average.“So, he’s a guy that is just another presence in the lineup. In addition, as we continue to build, you just keep putting more pieces in that lineup to give you a better chance to score runs.”"
The team’s mantra this offseason has been to identify the areas of need on the roster, which start at first base and in the outfield. The Marlins don’t appear to be done adding players to the organization, which could mean the team erases the 146 home runs it hit in 2019, last in the Majors.