As it stands now, the Marlins third baseman is leading the National League in hits with 110. With just a few days until the All Star break, and a 4 hit lead over the number two slot on the leaderboards, McGehee could very well join the likes of the first group of players as being a hits leader at the break.
All of these players – many of them forgettable – also led their respective leagues in hitting at the break. They, too, made the All Star teams. Casey McGehee may not join them in that respect.
Despite an agressive Twitter campaign, led by Marlins broadcasters such as Glenn Geffner, McGehee was not elected to the All Star Game by the fans. As it stands right now, he is one of five candidates for the final spot on the roster – and, statistically, not the most deserving one.
And therein lies the dilemma.
On the one hand, if McGehee maintains his lead but does not get selected to go to the game, he will become the first pre-break hits leader in 20 years not to be selected. That distinction belongs to first baseman Hal Morris in 1994, who hit a ridiculous .358/.406/.525 in the first half with 120 hits, but could not find a spot on a roster with Gregg Jefferies (.330/.405/.503) starting and Fred McGriff and Jeff Bagwell on the bench.
On the other hand, his stats don’t quite measure up.
I didn’t vote for McGehee in the original round of All Star voting. He simply wasn’t deserving. He may lead all third basemen in hits, batting average, and on base percentage, but he is 7th among qualified third basemen in wins above replacement, seventh in slugging, and dead last in home runs. Defensive statistics are admittedly flawed, but he has a negative defensive WAR and the second-lowest range factor among qualified third basemen.
Now that he’s in the running for the final vote, I find myself considering his case again. And I find myself reaching the same conclusion.
Anthony Rendon is also in the running for the final spot. Rendon has played the majority of his games at third, though he has logged some time at second as well. Despite a lower fielding percentage, Rendon has a higher range factor and dWAR than McGehee. He’s also third in average, fifth in OBP, second in slugging, second in OPS, and second in WAR. All told, he’s probably a better candidate than McGehee.
My debate ended there – if I could find another third baseman (Albeit one who’s now a second baseman) I believe is more deserving, I don’t even need to look into the candidacies of Justin Morneau, Justin Upton, and Anthony Rizzo, all of whom have tremendous cases to be on the team.
All this is not to say that you should not vote for McGehee. All Star votes are, of course, personal preference. But I struggle to see any reason to vote for McGehee beyond 20 years of precedent.
Move over, Hal Morris.