Sometimes, players don't get enough credit for what they do on the field to help their team win.
Chris Coghlan is one of those players. Not supremely talented, he's been a good platoon outfielder for the Cubs for the last two seasons. Recently, he's been asked by manager Joe Maddon to return to his roots in the infield, playing a bit of third base and now platooning at second base with Starlin Castro.
This year, he's set career highs in home runs (13) and stolen bases. Yes, that's right, stolen bases. Bet you didn't even realize that, but Coghlan's 11 steals so far this year make him one of four Cubs (Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo) in double figures in steals. Before this year, the last time a Cubs team had that many double-figure base stealers was 1997 (Sammy Sosa, Doug Glanville, Shawon Dunston, Brian McRae).
Besides what he does at the plate, and his offense has provided a 109 OPS+ and 1.3 bWAR, he's not afraid to get his uniform dirty in the field. Witness, this play from July 31 in Milwaukee:
I'm happy to admit that I was wrong about Coghlan. When the Cubs signed him before the 2014 season, I thought it was a waste of time, given his injury-plagued years in Miami after his Rookie of the Year season in 2009. And in fact, Coghlan didn't even make the 2014 Cubs Opening Day roster, spending the first month and 23 games at Triple-A Iowa. But he contributed well last year after a very slow start, and he had the same slow start in 2015. Even though he's slowed down a bit lately, since June 7 he's hitting .272/.367/.439 with six home runs in 199 at-bats. That'd be a pretty good pace for a full season.
Coghlan's never going to be a star and you don't see fans wearing his jersey around Wrigley Field. He came to the Cubs in part because he spoke with Andre Dawson, now a special assistant with the Marlins, about what being a Cub would be like:
"He told me about Wrigley and how great the fans were," Coghlan said. "He was like, 'Man, this is the best place to play,' and tell stories. When I was talking to different teams and trying to pick out a team, Chicago called, and I was going to get an opportunity sooner than I thought I would. It was an easy decision to come here." Dawson didn't know Coghlan was being recruited by the Cubs. "He was instrumental in my career on how to be a professional and how to take care of yourself and be a great teammate," Coghlan said. "He was awesome."
While Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Schwarber are among the biggest stars of this team, every team needs guys like Chris Coghlan, who will do just about anything, even get down-and-dirty on the basepaths (as shown above) to help their club win.
As the official washer and dryer of MLB, Maytag brand is searching for the "Filthiest Plays of the Week." Starting August 3rd ball players of any level can upload a picture or video of their "filthy play" using #MyFilthiestPlay for a chance to win a trip to the World Series plus a Maytag brand Top Load Washer and Dryer pair. Baseball fans have the power to vote for their favorite filthy play each week at MLB.com/Maytag. Follow Maytag on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the newest and filthiest plays.