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Thursday November 19, 2009 12:06 am

NL Rookie of the Year - Chris Coghlan




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Editorial, MLB,

Chris CoghlanChris Coghlan has achieved something rather unexceptional. He plays for the Florida Marlins and has been chosen as the National League’s 2009 Rookie of the Year. The 24-year-old outfielder is also the third Marlin to win the award in seven years, joining shortstop Hanley Ramirez and lefty starter Dontrelle Willis on the list of top rookies to rise to the top with the Fish, although none of them were originally drafted by Florida. Coghlan was picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 18thd round of the 2003 Draft, but did not sign, instead opting to raise his stock. He was ultimately drafted in the first round of the 2006 Draft and signed by Florida.

Coghlan had a good season by any standards – an amazing one for a rookie. In 504 at bats, he had 162 hits for a .321 batting average and .390 on-base percentage, and he drove in 47 runs, nine by homer. His season was highlighted by the 84 runs he scored himself. His future is bright, as he’ll only get better in the coming years, and his versatility allows him to play multiple positions. He spent most of his Major League rookie season in left field, but he did log seven full innings at second base, with two putouts, no less.

He came up through the Marlins system primarily as an infielder. Between 2006-2008, and from Rookie Ball to AAA New Orleans he played second or third base, with one left field appearance. His versatility has allowed himself to be seen as one of the better young prospects in recent years, proving his worth both at the plate and in the field. His adjustment to the outfield as well as lead-off spot in the lineup has helped the Marlins fill two holes with one player. The Marlins themselves are not that far off from the World Series contender they were less than a decade ago, and a more-experienced Coghlan just adds another layer of depth to an already charged lineup.

Coghlan had some tough competition for the award. Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ finished just 11 points behind (10 firsts, 11 seconds, 11 thirds). Happ’s 12-4 record and 2.93 ERA were impressive, and even leading all NL rookie pitchers in innings (166), strikeouts (119), complete games (three) and shutouts (two) wasn’t enough to take the award. Coghlan put together an impressive season, and it’s one that isn’t measured as much by personal success as team success. The Marlins have him locked up for another couple of years, and if they want to return to 2003 form, this is the guy to build around.

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