Oct 27, 2009, 11:46 AM EDT
Juan C. Rodriguez covers the Marlins for the Florida Sun Sentinel and apparently believes that Chris Coghlan had an absolutely spectacular rookie season.
Last week Rodriguez criticized the Baseball Bloggers Alliance for ranking Coghlan fourth in their Rookie of the Year balloting despite “the historic nature of Coghlan’s offensive season.” This week Rodriguez criticized the Players Association for choosing J.A. Happ as their Rookie of the Year despite Coghlan’s “multitude of historic achievements.”
In reality the basis for Coghlan’s supposed “historic” rookie season was notching 50 hits in back-to-back months, which while very impressive merely contributed to his batting .321/.390/.460 in 128 games overall. Don’t get me wrong, those are strong numbers for a rookie. However, there’s nothing “historic” about an .850 OPS from a left fielder, nor is there anything “historic” about a poor defensive player totaling nine homers, 47 RBIs, and 84 runs in 565 plate appearances.
Fellow rookie Andrew McCutchen hit .286/.365/.471 in 108 games to nearly match Coghlan with an .836 OPS, and he did so while swiping 22 bases and playing an excellent center field. According to Fan Graphs the sum of Coghlan’s offensive and defensive contributions were worth 23.9 runs above replacement level, which tied for 60th among NL position players. McCutchen was 34.0 runs above replacement level, which ranked 28th. Who had the historic rookie season, again?
And there were some good rookie pitchers too. Happ was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 166 innings. Tommy Hanson went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA 128 innings. Randy Wells went 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA in 165 innings. McCutchen and all three pitchers have strong arguments for being more valuable than a left fielder with an .850 OPS. Coghlan played very well and deserves consideration for Rookie of the Year awards, but there’s nothing “historic” about his rookie season no matter how much Rodriguez enjoyed covering him.
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