Coghlan Has a Chance for Rookie Award

Leslie MonteiroSenior Analyst ISeptember 16, 2009

Andrew McCutchen, Dexter Fowler, Tommy Hanson, J.A. Happ, and Chris Coghlan are candidates for the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year award.

Writers nominate their picks on the final week of the regular season, and they mention who they selected in the final game of the season in Sunday's newspapers.

This writer thought Coghlan's chances were slim at best in winning that award a month ago, but as the weeks have flown by, his play has garnered attention.

FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal campaigned recently on Coghlan's behalf as this year's Rookie of the Year.

He mentioned Coghlan made the Marlins offense better by doing what a leadoff man should do, which is getting on base in every game. He talked about Coghlan's batting average along with his on-base/slugging percentage as his reasoning to vote for Coghlan.

When a respected writer like Rosenthal touts a player, this could only increase Coghlan's chances of winning the award.

At this point, the Marlins rookie has a shot to win it, but it's not going to be easy.

For one thing, the competition is tough. Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson keeps on winning by pitching well every fifth day while Phillies pitcher A.J. Happ pitched well all season to the point he might be the third starter in the postseason.

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Second of all, the Marlins rarely make an appearance on highlight reels for ESPN and the MLB Network so that makes it hard for writers to recognize Coghlan.

The more we look at his season overall and compare it to the other candidates, Coghlan should win the award.

He improved tremendously since the All-Star Game break by hitting in almost every game since July. He had a 14-game hitting streak snapped last week.

He knows that he does not have to swing at every pitch, and his at-bats are much better than they were when he played the first few months of the year.

The Marlins needed someone outside of Hanley Ramirez that could provide solid offensive numbers, and Coghlan answered the challenge. Now, he could be the first Marlins rookie ever to bat .300 for the season.

His defense should not be be discounted either since he proved that he can play well as an outfielder.

He keeps getting better each month to the point that Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest should have no qualms about trading Dan Uggla next year and inserting Coghlan to his natural position at second.

McCutchen was the early choice to win the Rookie of the Year, but his play tailed off in recent weeks while Coghlan has kept on hitting.

As good as Hanson and Happ are, they don't play every day. It's easy to perform every five days while it's hard to play at a high level every game.

Don't count on Coghlan winning the award, though. These awards tend to be based on popularity votes rather than votes that make sense.

That's why in the end, it will be Hanson's to lose.