Mar 31, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee (9) connects for a three run RBI double in the fifth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
If you watched the Marlins-Rockies game on Monday night, you likely found yourself excited at the amount of runs the Marlins’ revamped lineup scored. Your spirits were probably buoyed by all the praise ESPN2 announcers Steve Levy and Eduardo Perez – the former Marlins hitting coach – were heaping on Marlins players. In particular, Eduardo Perez noted twice that new Marlins cleanup hitter Casey McGehee was a “batting champion” in Japan.
Unfortunately, I have no idea where Perez is getting his information from.
McGehee played for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2013, and he did indeed enjoy a fair amount of success in Japan. The third baseman hit a very respectable .292 in the Nippon League – a solid number, but not even the highest average on his own team (Ginji Akaminai, .317). He didn’t lead his team in RBI either – his 93 RBI were second to Andruw Jones – and though he did lead Rakuten in home runs with 28, that didn’t lead the Pacific League either.
Now, let’s talk about what McGehee is. He’s a guy who put up enough offense in 116 games in 2009 to come in fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting (an award which ultimately went to our own Chris Coghlan). He’s a player who put up 23 homers and 104 RBI in his sophomore season . He’s an unlucky dude who had one down season after his two hot ones and got jettisoned out of town in favor of Aramis Ramirez and didn’t receive consistent playing time after that. He’s a solid-if-unspectacular stopgap until Third Baseman Of The Future Colin Moran is ready for the majors.
Casey McGehee is a lot of things, Eduardo Perez. But a batting champion he is not.