07/17/10 6:20 PM EST
Coghlan seeks consistency in second half
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
No one in baseball had more hits than Coghlan after the All-Star break in 2009. Not Derek Jeter. Not Joe Mauer.
The Marlins left fielder collected 113 hits post-break in '09, and his average of .372 over that span also was the best in baseball.
The impressive second-half run led to Coghlan being named the National League Rookie of the Year.
Coghlan isn't making any bold predictions right now, but the 25-year-old clearly is looking for vast improvements in the second half.
"I'm not going to say that I am. I'm not going to say that I'm not," Coghlan said, referring to duplicating what he did as a rookie. "It's not like you say, 'It's the second half, now I'm going to go on a tear.'
"I think as long as you stick to your approach, and I have the same discipline in my approach, I know that all the numbers will take care of themselves, and they will be a lot better than they were in the first half."
Steady improvement is what Coghlan is seeking.
At every level, Coghlan has been a .300 hitter, which is why his current .265 average is a bit discouraging. He got off to a rough April, batting .195 in the first month. He picked it up in June, batting .377 for the month. But in 11 games in July, he has hit a snag, batting at a .156 clip.
"I'd say the first half for me, inconsistent is the word I'd use to describe it," Coghlan said. "I feel like there was some good and some bad."
What's encouraged him is his defense. A hard-nosed player, Coghlan strives to have a well-rounded game. A converted infielder, he has seven outfield assists and a .994 fielding percentage after posting a .977 percentage in 2009.
"I feel like I made a lot of improvement on defense. It's something I've done a lot better at," Coghlan said. "I feel more comfortable. I feel like I've made some differences in games defensively."
At the plate, he is a little harder on himself.
"Offensively, inconsistent," Coghlan said. "I'd say not good. I'd give myself a 'D,' if I had to give myself a grade. It's just consistently adjusting to different things, and I've been inconsistent at the plate."
A statistic that also stands out is his strikeout total. In 336 at-bats, he has struck out 80 times.
Compare that to 2009, when in 504 at-bats for the entire season, he fanned 77 times.
"I've definitely struck out more than I have in the past," he said. "I think that is attributed to adjusting too. I think in the beginning of the year, they were figuring you out.
"I think it also is misleading. I think also because I struggled so badly in the first month. The first month was a month that I've never had in my career. It was so bad that it was to the point where it was going to be an alarming stat by the end of the year."
The ups and downs of the first half, Coghlan feels, were an excellent learning experience. He's also hit in some bad luck, lining a number of hard balls right at the defenders. It's all part of the growing process in the big leagues.
"I think in your second year, I am understanding more and more why people say, your second year it becomes a game of more adjustments," Coghlan said.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.