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2022 Marlins Season Review: Garrett Cooper

Cooper was streaky at the plate, but stayed healthy for most of the season.

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2022 Timeline

June 11th: Placed on the COVID Related IL

June 13th: Activated from the COVID Related IL

July 19th: Played in first career MLB All-Star Game

July 26th: Placed on the 10-day IL with a right wrist contusion

July 30th: Sent to Low-A Jupiter on a rehab assignment

August 3rd: Activated from the 10-day IL

August 19th: Placed on the 7-day Concussion IL

August 23rd: Sent to Low-A Jupiter on a rehab assignment

August 26th: Activated from the 7-day IL

September 29th: Placed on the 10-day IL with a fractured left pinky finger

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Spring Training, the Marlins looked like they had too many first basemen. Would Garrett Cooper or Jesús Aguilar be the odd man out to make room for the younger Lewin Díaz?

Both veterans had their flaws, but showed they could hit at a high level when on the field. The Marlins determined that their offensive skills were too valuable to give away. They ended up rolling with Cooper and Aguilar while sending Díaz down to AAA-Jacksonville.

One of the biggest guys on the team, Cooper’s hitting profile in 2022 was different from his previous seasons. He showed better bat-to-ball skill, but hit fewer homers than expected. The Marlins were okay with that change: they needed more situational hitters like him.

Cooper was the brightest spot in the Marlins lineup during the month of June. In what was probably the best month of his career, he slashed .378/.418/.511/.930 with 2 homers and 16 RBIs. The Marlins found some magic by moving him up to second in the batting order. That elevated Cooper into the NL batting title race and the All-Star conversation.

On July 12, the 31-year-old was named to the NL All-Star roster as a replacement for the injured Bryce Harper at DH. Cooper’s selection was based on votes from his fellow players. It was well deserved, and the honor was especially meaningful to Coop because Dodger Stadium hosted All-Star week, making it easy for his family and friends in Southern California to attend.

Second-Half Slump

After one of the best first halves of his career, which included flirting with a .300 average and good durability, Cooper struggled in the second half.

Post-All-Star: .210 BA, .310 OBP, .371 SLG, .681 OPS, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 26 H

Coop was hitting almost everything to the opposite field and not making enough hard contact. Minor injuries might have had a negative impact on him during this stretch. He was sidelined by a wrist contusion in the days leading up to the trade deadline, otherwise contenders could have been more aggressive trying to acquire him.

Fortunately, Coop snapped out of his slump in September. He had hits in 14 of his final 17 games and slashed .290/.364/.507 for the month overall. Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that Lewin Díaz played first base for most of that time, allowing Coop to focus on being a DH.

Cooper’s season ended early on September 27th, when he was hit by a pitch and broke his pinky.

Click here to listen to an exclusive interview with Cooper about the 2022 Marlins, his All-Star experience, thoughts going into 2023, and MLB rule changes.

2023 Expectations

It is still uncertain whether or not Garrett Cooper will be with the Marlins for a sixth season. The organization has other internal options for first base and DH like Díaz, Jerar Encarnación and Troy Johnston. They would be much cheaper than him, though they haven’t proven themselves in the majors yet. Cooper is projected to make $4.1 million in 2023, according to MLB Trade Rumors, which will be his final year of club control before being able to test free agency.

Totaling only 9 home runs in 119 games could scare away some teams from wanting to give up much in return to trade for Cooper. Maybe a more hitter-friendly ballpark would bring better power numbers out of him.

Whether Cooper stays or goes, the Marlins need to make big-time upgrades to their other lineup spots, focusing on lefty hitters along with those who can capitalize with runners in scoring position.