The 2016 Major League Baseball World Series will feature the Chicago Cubs, who have dominated baseball since Opening Day, and the Cleveland Indians, who have not let multiple injuries to key players stop them from easily storming through the American League playoffs.
It should be a great matchup between the two teams, but the interesting part for the Marlins and their fans will be watching two former Marlins, left-handed reliever Andrew Miller for the Indians and outfielder Chris Coghlan for the Cubs, battle it out.
Andrew Miller has been arguably the most dominant player in the entire 2016 postseason. In 11 2⁄3 innings during the first two rounds of the playoffs, Miller has allowed zero runs on only five hits, while striking out 21 batters and walking only two. Although he may have the filthy stuff of a closer, Miller has been so valuable to the Indians because of how manager Terry Francona has used him. He has been stretched out for multiple innings and has been brought in to face the toughest batters in the most important situations, whether that is in the fifth or the ninth or anywhere in between.
The Marlins, on the other hand, had Miller in his early days when he wasn’t so dominant. Miller came to Miami in December of 2007 in the infamous trade with the Tigers that sent future MVP Miguel Cabrera and ace Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for six prospects, one of which was the young left hander. Miller spent three seasons with the team in which the Marlins used him mostly as a starter. He made 58 appearances for Florida, with 41 of those being starts, and pitched to a 5.89 ERA with a brutal 1.73 WHIP and .285 batting average against. His abysmal 1.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio during his time with the Marlins really told the whole story.
Because of Miller’s many struggles, the Marlins decided to move on from the lefty, and traded him to the Red Sox in December of 2010 for left-handed pitcher Dustin Richardson. Miller became a reliever and ended up working out well for Boston, Baltimore, New York and then Cleveland, and has still not allowed an earned run in 20 playoff innings entering the 2016 World Series.
Chris Coghlan has obviously not had as much success as Miller this postseason, but he still contributed to the Cubs World Series run during the regular season. Coghlan has made only five trips to the plate this postseason, recording just one walk and zero hits, but he did have a nice regular season with the Cubs after being traded to Chicago from Oakland in June. Coghlan slashed .252/.391/.388 in 128 plate appearances with the Cubs and had a wRC+ of 113. He also gives Joe Maddon another player who can play almost anywhere in the field and even had an Ultimate Zone Rating of 4.8 with Chicago, which is a stat that roughly shows how many runs a player saves his team on defense.
Coghlan has had success with other teams, but he had some of his best seasons with the Marlins. The Marlins drafted him in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft and he made his MLB debut in 2009. That year he batted .321 with an OPS of .850, putting up many numbers that are still his career highs on his way to the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Coghlan was with Miami all the way through the 2013 season, but never came close to his rookie numbers, and the Marlins decided to not re-sign him when his contract was up after the 2013.
So, look out for Andrew Miller and Chris Coghlan to make an impact in this year’s World Series, and try not to think too much about what could have been.