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Chicago Cubs’ left field job is Chris Coghlan’s to lose

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In an organization loaded with prospects, there is no clear-cut name ready to take over left field for the Chicago Cubs in the upcoming season. Although there was speculation that Kris Bryant would one day take over the reigns, so far he has shown that he’s a third baseman. It seems the Cubs will rely on experienced players to handle the position, with a familiar face being left off the roster.

It looks like Chris Coghlan will get a majority of the starts in left field as he did last year when he appeared in 125 games. Coghlan won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2009 with the Marlins, but battled injuries over the next few seasons. He signed with the Cubs before last season and became a bright spot on the team.

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His .283 batting average was good for third on the team behind Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. He gave the team a spark at the top of their order, which had been a problem in year’s past. With no obvious replacement for him, he will provide a lefty bat that can play small ball and get on base.

When Coghlan gets a rest or when the team is facing a lefty pitcher, new signing Chris Denorfia could take his spot. Denorfia is a righty who played most of his career with the San Diego Padres until last year when he was traded to the Seattle Mariners mid-season. Denorfia struggled last season, seeing his batting average drop nearly 50 points compared to the 2013 season.

If he wants to bounce back this season, he will need to take advantage of any opportunity manager Joe Maddon gives him since they could be few and far between.

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A forgotten man in the left field situation is last year’s Opening Day starter Junior Lake. He hit the scene with a bang in 2013 after a midseason call-up, but couldn’t emulate his success since. He struggled mightily at the plate with a .211 batting average and 110 strikeouts in 108 games in 2014.

It seemed he couldn’t get anything right, including what jersey to wear, and he was sent to Triple-A Iowa. He has hit .286 in Spring Training so far, but it likely won’t be enough to get him a chance on the opening day big league roster again.

With the inconsistencies Denorfia and Lake have experienced recently, Coghlan will provide much more stability than any other option the Cubs have right now. The young Cubs lineup will once again rely on him to be a consistent contributor this season.

Next: Wrigley Field renovation facing another legal challenge

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