Cubs

Chris Coghlan brings unique perspective to Cubs youth movement

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Chris Coghlan brings unique perspective to Cubs youth movement

Chris Coghlan doesn't have the luxury of thinking about the future.

Who knows if Coghlan will still be here next year, or even for the rest of this season? The Cubs outfielder turns 30 in June and only allows himself to think in a day-to-day mindset instead of getting caught up in the big picture.

Coghlan wants to win a championship here and make a permanent home in Chicago, but he knows that decision isn't his to make.

In the here and now, Coghlan is seeing the majority of playing time in left field, hitting near Starlin Castro in the order just about every day. But the former first-round pick of the Florida Marlins (2006) and National League Rookie of the Year (2009) knows his role is more than just roaming the outfield at the corner of Clark and Addison.

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"I think all of us have had different experiences in this game," Coghlan said. "Mine's just been very unique, because I've been at the top from an individual standpoint. And I've been at a low point from an individual standpoint where I've gotta make a team out of spring training.

"I've been a guy who's played enough years to see what it's like and what it means to have a winning attitude and to go about that business. I've been a backup player. I've been a full-time player. In six years, I've had a full realm.

"That does give me an advantage and I'm grateful for that. And I don't want to waste that opportunity, to be able to talk to those guys, and whatever role they're in, to say, 'Hey, I've been there. I've done that.'

“We have a lot of young guys that are still trying to figure it out and it's a great opportunity to be able to share that and impart that."

Coghlan enjoyed a career resurgence last season, emerging as a leadoff hitter and posting a .283/.352/.452 slash line with 28 doubles, nine home runs, 41 RBI and 50 runs.

The Cubs brought in Dexter Fowler to set the table at the top of the 2015 lineup and Coghlan has struggled some in his new role, batting just .228 with a .290 on-base percentage. He has shown power - three homers, four doubles - while hitting anywhere from fourth to seventh in the lineup.

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Coghlan admitted he's still getting used to his new role but enjoys playing on a Cubs team that finished April with a 12-8 record and within striking distance in the NL Central.

"I think everybody is more excited," he said. "I mean, the object of the game is to win. That's it. The only thing we play for is to win a championship. So when you're on a team that's winning and has a chance to really contend, it makes things way more enjoyable.

"It sucks playing in September when you have no shot. It's just grinding it out. It's tough not to count days down when you're in that situation. Hopefully this year, when we're in September, we're contending for the division and every game is exciting and you look forward to it and can't wait to get to the ballpark.

"That's the way we feel right now."

Coghlan has seen every level of a rebuild in his career, breaking into the big leagues on a 2009 Marlins team that had Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco leading the way.

By the time Coghlan left Miami after the 2013 season, the Marlins had traded away all of those guys and spent three straight seasons in last place in the NL East while building from scratch around young slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

In Chicago, Coghlan has seen plenty of big-league debuts - Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, among others - as the Cubs try to break in their young talent while going for it at the same time.

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"There are some similarities between [the Cubs and Marlins], but here, it's different because they try to lock up their guys," Coghlan said. "You've got Starlin and [Anthony] Rizzo and then they're bringing in older guys and you have these young guys that are now coming up through the system.

"I think that's probably what Miami tried to envision. But their history just hasn't shown that. I mean, they've locked up [outfielder Christian] Yelich and Stanton now, so they're headed in a different direction. But in my five years there, it wasn't like that. They didn't want to keep guys around for whatever reason.

"Here, it's different in that aspect. I feel like they have a better understanding of their plan - and executing their plan - than when I was in Miami."

Who Knew? Baseball oddities from Daniel Palka, Anthony Rizzo and more in Chicago baseball

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USA TODAY

Who Knew? Baseball oddities from Daniel Palka, Anthony Rizzo and more in Chicago baseball

After a two-week hiatus, “Who Knew?” is Back!  Time for our (usually) weekly journey through the improbable, inane & obscure of Chicago Baseball.

All notes are through Sunday’s games.

Extra Innings… Extra Runs

Last Monday the Cubs beat the Brewers 7-2… in 11 innings.

They have three wins this season in extra innings.  By 4, 5 and 6 runs!  Their four extra-inning losses this season are by 1, 1, 1 and 2 runs.

No other team has won an extra-inning game by at least 5 runs this season.  The Cubs have done it twice.

Inning Checklist

Anthony Rizzo homered in the 11th inning in that Monday Cubs win.  He has now homered in every inning from 1 to 13 in his career, joining Ron Santo & Sammy Sosa as the only players in Cubs history who can make that distinction.

One-Two Punch

Tuesday night, Yoán Moncada & Yolmer Sánchez led off the game with back-to-back home runs.

It was the fourth time in franchise history the Sox led a game off with consecutive homers.

Sánchez hit the second home run each of the last two times they did it (also September 2, 2017 after Alen Hanson)

It was the FIRST time in Major League history two players whose first name begins with the letter Y had hit consecutive home runs to begin a game.

What’s the Catch?

439 players have had at least 30 at-bats this season.

The best batting average of those players belongs to Kevan Smith (.441 but in only 34 at-bats)

In the Park

The most batters faced without allowing a home run this season is 149, by Dylan Covey. He allowed 20 Home Runs in 70.0 Innings in 2017.

Through the Draft

Friday night:

Javier Báez Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2011 (9th overall)  reached base 3 times (including two walks!)
Albert Almora Jr. Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2012 (6th overall)  reached base 3 times
Kris Bryant Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2013 (2nd overall) homered
Kyle Schwarber Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2014 (4th overall)    homered
Ian Happ Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2015 (9th overall)   homered

Double Time

José Abreu has 21 doubles since May 8th.

You could chop off Abreu’s first 31 games this season and those 21 doubles alone would be enough to tie Ozzie Albies & Nick Markakis for the FULL season National League lead this season

Palka Party

Daniel Palka’s 7 batted balls of at least 115 mph is the 4th highest total in MLB (according to the available data at baseballsavant.com).

But look at how many more plate appearances this season the other guys have had!

  Batted balls of 115+mph  PA
Giancarlo Stanton    10 294
Joey Gallo   9 286
Aaron Judge     8 300
Daniel Palka     7 154

                                                

By the way, the rest of the White Sox team has a combined 3 batted balls of 115+ MPH this season.  Palka is clearly a special talent.

Cubs still owning second place in the NL All-Star vote standings

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USA TODAY

Cubs still owning second place in the NL All-Star vote standings

One Cubs player is within shouting distance of starting at the 2018 MLB All-Star game. But this time around, as compared to last week, the vote deficit is a bit larger.

MLB updated its second round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Catcher Willson Contreras trails Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. The margin was only 22,000 votes at this time last week.

And for other Cubs players such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and others, the margin is a little more substantial.

Rizzo is behind Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman by nearly 870,000 votes. Baez trails Braves second basemen Ozzie Albies by 148,000 votes.

Bryant trails Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado by 447,000 votes. At shortstop, Addison Russell is in third place, trailing the Dansby Swanson of the Braves and Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

In the outfield, Jason Heyward moved up to the seventh spot with 447,359 votes, dropping Kyle Schwarber to eighth with 442,471 votes, and Ben Zobrist ranks ninth with 434,943 votes.

There will be another All-Star ballot update for the NL next Monday, and voting ends on July 5 at 11 p.m. Central.