When the Chicago Cubs picked up Chris Coghlan in January, they knew they were getting a former NL Rookie of the Year who had fought through some injury issues. Even after the Marlins released him, they tried to get him back, realizing the potential he might have.
The beginning of the 2014 season found Coghlan in Triple-A with the Iowa Cubs. Lack of production from any of the outfield spots forced an early shake-up, as he found his way to Chicago. unfortunately he fell right in line with the rest of the outfielders, failing to produce quality at-bats, base runners, etc. On the last day of June, Coghlan found himself hitting a lowly .206.
Then, something just clicked.
From July 1 till the end of the year, Coghlan batted .312, with an OBP of .378. He spent much of the second half as the Cubs lead off hitter, and provided solid numbers for a player that doesn’t fit the typical mold for the lead-off spot. His .274 AVG wasn’t amazing, but the 27 RBIs from the top was quite impressive. Add to that 20 2B, 3 3B, and 6 HRs in 61 games and there are some numbers there to be excited about.
In the field, he earned a reputation for going after everything at full speed. Some of the finest catches of the summer came from Coghlan in the Wrigley outfield. He also picked up five OF assists (4th in the NL). It’s not a staggering total, but he doesn’t have a laser for an arm. For Coghlan it was positioning and game-awareness, knowing when and where to throw the ball to.
The outfield became a question early in the season with many of the options struggling at the plate. The eventual departure of Nate Schierholtz, injuries for Ryan Sweeney, and Junior Lake‘s struggles opened the door for Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano. It’s still early in the off-season, and the Cubs will be actively looking to add veterans, possibly in the outfield as well.
While Coghlan has only been in the league since 2009, it almost feels like he’s a veteran with this young team. The Cubs will enter camp in 2015 with several options, but Coghlan very well may be part of the future plans, and he earned that chance. The Marlins may have simply given up on Coghlan before he was back to 100%. And the Cubs will happily thank them if he can continue this success into next year.