Miami Marlins’ Garrett Cooper is enjoying playing every day. With the universal DH permanently in effect for the NL, Cooper has certainly benefited from it. Before being placed on the injured list for COVID protocol, he was enjoying the best season of his career.
Injuries Have Hindered Him
Since getting a “cup of coffee” with the New Your Yankees in 2017, Copper has only played in 100-plus games only once in his career. Several nagging injuries have hurt his chance of being a fulltime player.
However, since 2018 when the Marlins acquired him, he has dealt with right wrist issues, hamstring, back, knee, oblique, and elbow problems, and a reaction to the COVID vaccine. Last season, he suffered a partial UCL tear in his left elbow, which required season-ending surgery. Injury has struck this season as well with Cooper dealing with knee issues.
Several of his previous injuries were the result of fielding plays so a move to DH for several games has been beneficial for him, allowing him to play, but not putting a lot of stress on his body.
When healthy, Cooper has proven to be an excellent hitter, especially in clutch situations. However, most people do not know what a quality hitter Cooper has been due to playing in Miami. He has been studying the game and working on his skills over the past three seasons. He has developed his bat to hit all over the outfield and has been a solid .280 plus hitter those past three years.
Miami Marlins’ Garrett Cooper is enjoying playing every day, playing in 51 of 58 of the Marlins’ games. He is batting .315—fourth in the NL. He also has four home runs 27 RBIs with 15 doubles and a .861 OPS average.
Without the DH in the NL in 2021, when Manager Don Mattingly wanted Cooper in the lineup for his bat, he would put Cooper in right field. He was not seen as a defensive specialist as his arm is considered average.
However, not having to play the outfield anymore seems to have had a positive effect. Concentrating on the DH role and playing first base has improved his defensive play. In 27 games at first, he has 199 chances, 185 putouts, 14 assists and 18 double plays and zero errors.
Miami Marlins’ Garrett Cooper is enjoying playing every day and they will need his bat in the lineup during the second half of this season. So far, they have an 8-2 record when Cooper has two or more runs batted in.
Most experts had the Marlins on the outside of a playoff spot for 2022. It is a little early to start talking Wild Card but the current standings show the Marlins only five games out. Cooper has certainly been part of that.
Cooper has established himself as a top hitter in the league and certainly is in contention for the NL batting title. If he can continue doing what he’s doing, who knows… maybe the Marlins will surprise everyone and win the battle for a playoff spot while Cooper wins a batting title.