Minor League Review: If Not in Tampa Bay Then Nowhere for Brad Coon


Every ballplayer’s dream is to make the make the major leagues. There can’t be anything more frustrating than sitting at Triple-A, just short of the big leagues, and never making it. That has been the case for Brad Coon. With his time running out to make the major leagues, he went to the organization that most appreciates his talents. If there’s anywhere he’s going to make the big leagues, it’s in Tampa Bay.

Brad Coon was a 15th round pick by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim back in 2005 out of Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Angels sent the 22 year old centerfielder to the Rookie level Orem Owlz and started his career well, posting a .300/.381/.359 line with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 18 RBI, and 19 stolen bases in 28 tries. He walked a solid 28 times compared to 48 strikeouts. Coon’s average slipped to .278 in 2006 at Low-A Cedar Rapids, but his OBP stayed at .382 as he drew 75 walks and he took advantage to steal 55 bases, most in the Midwest League by a wide margin, although he was caught 22 times as well. Coon then stole 56 out of 77 stolen bases in 2007 between High-A and Double-A, also smacking his first 4 professional home runs, but his average and OBP slipped t0 .276 and .337 respectively.

Coon spent 2008 primarily at Triple-A, and he upped his average up to .301 and .400 respectively. However, he stole just 17 bases in 28 tries. He was back at Triple-A in 2009, posting a .276 average, a .369 OBP, and 23 stolen bases in 31 tries, but it was the beginning of the end of his time in the Angels organization. He was released after just 5 games in 2010. Coon spent most of the season at Double-A Harrisburg in the Nationals organization, but on the year he posted just a .255 average, .319 OBP, and just 12 stolen bases in 19 tries, although he did hit a career-high 6 home home runs. In 2011, Coon split the season between Double-A and Triple-A with the Dodgers organization, and he played well. He posted a .269 batting average, a .390 OBP, and 14 bases in 17 tries. He struck out just 56 times compared to 54 walks.

Coon, now 29, signed with the Rays in the 2011 offseason, and the Rays assigned him to Double-A Montgomery. Thus far this season, Coon has played relatively well for the Biscuits, posting a .266/.398/.376 line with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 15 RBI, and 10 stolen bases in 12 tries in 34 tries. He has a 25-22 strikeout to walk ratio and already has 4 outfield assists from centerfield.

Coon is 6’0″, 175 and gets by through his scrappy style of play. He’s difficult to strike out and works tough at-bats. He bunts and he steals bases. And he plays good defense in centerfield. Coon is a typical Rays player, especially in the upper levels of their system. Coon is currently at Double-A, two levels away from the majors. But especially in September, the Rays could give Coon a chance to make his major league debut. He’s the type of player that they can’t get enough of. Coon knew that when he signed with the Rays. And after playing well to begin 2012, it might just happen.