Late bloomers can be found pretty much anywhere you look. Do you remember that Jose Altuve-like kid in junior high who was at least six inches shorter than the next tallest boy in the class? I know I do. That kid is 6’5″ now. (Apologies to the real Altuve who might never experience the thrill of riding a roller coaster). If you’re a film buff, you’re probably aware that Harrison Ford was toiling away in obscurity until his mid-30s when Star Wars hit it big, and Sandra Bullock followed a similar career path with Demolition Man and Speed. In the sports world, there are several post-hype and un-hyped players who break out each year, such as Josh Donaldson, JD Martinez, and Charlie Blackmon over the last few years. Is Chris Coghlan one of those players this season?
Let’s take a look at Coghlan’s career statistics to see how he’s evolved offensively over the years:
Coghlan is a former first round draft pick of the Marlins in 2006 and earned the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2009, so there is some pedigree here. After a solid start to his MLB career, injuries and inconsistency caused him to be demoted to the minor leagues in 2012, and he became merely a part-time player until leaving the Marlins following the 2013 season.
Since joining the Cubs last season, it’s been a different story. Coghlan has received semi-regular playing time in Chicago thanks to his above average power, speed, and on-base skills. But how has that diverse skillset translated into on-field production?
Let’s take a look at the list of players who have displayed those same power, speed, and on-base skills this season. Here are the search parameters that were used for this exercise:
• 10+ home runs
• 10+ stolen bases
• BB% of 10% or higher
The results can be seen in the following table:
Ten players fit the search criteria, including some of the top fantasy players, as you might expect. Goldy, Trout, and Rizzo are first rounds locks next season, and Upton, Springer, and Bryant aren’t too far behind. Four Cubs qualified for this list, while no other team had more than one player do so. Maybe that elusive ring isn’t too far off after all.
Let’s see what happens to the list of qualifiers when each player is required to produce a .170+ ISO and a .5 BB/K ratio:
Pretty select list. I think I’ll refer to this list as “Coghlan and the three other guys.” Has a nice ring to it.
So… Coghlan’s a 2nd round pick next season, right? Sure, in 15 team NL Central fantasy leagues. Coghlan still has one glaring weakness to his offensive game – his inability to hit left-handed pitching. In fact, he only has 4 hits in 40 plate appearances against southpaws this season, and is currently sporting a .378 OPS against them (.637 career). He usually finds himself on the bench when a lefty is on the opposing mound, and rightfully so. Fortunately, the Cubs are scheduled to face seven straight RHPs over the next week, so Coghlan should be pretty busy. Did I mention the fact that he just gained 2B eligibility to go along with his OF eligibility? Well there you go. A potential 20/15 player with dual 2B/OF eligibility would be a nice cog to add to your fake team down the stretch, I would imagine. He’s currently available in 92.3% of ESPN leagues.