Did Chris Coghlan have a 'historic' rookie year?

Leave a comment

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.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
Leave a comment

If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.