Chris Coghlan: Where does he fit with the 2015 Chicago Cubs?


With all of the traffic that has come and is still to come from the minors, and with the new additions that came from a productive offseason, we seldom hear Chris Coghlan‘s name mentioned as a key contributor to the success of the Chicago Cubs in 2015. Looking at his production last year, I cannot understand why.

As an initial bench player and later the everyday left fielder, Coghlan, 29, had a very productive year considering his role with the Cubs last season. In 125 games, he posted a solid .283 batting average, nine home runs and a nice .352 OBP. More importantly, those numbers came primarily in a leadoff role.

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Coghlan also played some good defense for the Cubs in the outfield in 2014. In 101 games out in left field, he was able to finish with a .977 fielding percentage, converting 164 putouts in 173 chances. He also collected five outfield assists to just four errors all year.

Now that the Cubs have recently signed outfielder Chris Denorfia, the chances of Coghlan’s role being diminished has grown significantly. Although Denorfia struggled last season with the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, there’s still a chance that the 34-year-old outfielder has a nice spring and takes some playing time away from Coghlan. A platoon situation is most plausible, and even then, Coghlan will likely lose a few precious at-bats.

Due to his younger age and overall better numbers, I fully expect Coghlan to ultimately beat out Denorfia as the primary left fielder. But even beyond that, I expect him to exceed the expectations that most seem to have for him. Will he be the X-factor for the Cubs in the upcoming season? It’s possible and I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. However, we do know that he will be a key contributor and leader to the success of the team.

A lot of excitement is surrounding the 2015 Chicago Cubs, and with good reason. Plenty of talent has been added and more of it seems to be on the way. But fundamentally sound players are often forgotten and lost in all of the hype that naturally gifted players bring. The Cubs would be wise to keep Coghlan around as he is one of very few players who works hard, and plays the game the right way.

Next: Does Jacob Turner have a chance to make the Cubs rotation?