It’s nice that Portland first baseman/outfielder Craig Cooper has hit .313 with two home runs. He’s slugging a solid .469 too.
I don’t care.
Two walks? Really?
A stocky 25-year-old doubles hitter, Cooper hit .312/.405/.451 last year at Double-A San Antonio, with an 85/73 K/BB ratio.
That hardly sets him up to be a star, or even a starter, in the majors, but at least Cooper brought some real skills to the table.
A multi-position guy (even if those positions are 1B/LF/RF) with a decent line-drive lefty bat and good batting eye has value as a pinch-hitter/double-switch guy in the NL. Take Matt Stairs, add some contact, and subtract some power, and you basically have Cooper. Stairs has a role at age 42, so I’m sure Cooper could fill that sort of role at 25.
I hate resorting to cliches to explain baseball; if you follow my writing, you know that I don’t care about tradition, cliches, or other subjective stuff–I just analyze the information as I see it. But here, I’m going to have to resort to a horrifically tired cliche.
Craig Cooper needs to know his own limits, and stay within himself.
Yeah, I know. Groan. I just did. But that pretty much accurately sums up the problem here. If you’re a first baseman/corner OF with limited power, the best thing you can do is attempt to maximize the skills you do have. Sure, chicks dig the long ball, but increasing your power output by a small fraction (Cooper’s ISO is up .017 from last year) isn’t worth a huge part of your on-base percentage (Cooper’s OBP is down .078).
The jury’s out as to whether this hacktastic approach will even improve Cooper’s power at all, but what we do know is that the lack of selectivity is taking away from the skill that makes him most attractive. You put up over a .400 OBP last year, dude. That’s not something to throw away. You’re not a slugger. Stop trying to be one.