Casey McGehee just keeps on doing his thin..."/> Casey McGehee just keeps on doing his thin..."/>

Making the case for Casey McGehee


Marlins 3rd baseman Casey McGehee just keeps on doing his thing.

He’s not showcasing the 28-home run power he displayed in Japan — he has just one home run to date. But as a Marlin McGehee has gracefully accepted a different role. He is making consistent contact in the cleanup spot behind Giancarlo Stanton. Sabermetricians might scoff at his .289/.361/.378 slash line, but Casey McGehee has just had a knack for putting the ball where it needs to be and doing so in timely situations.

That is why he should be a candidate for the All-Star Game. While not producing prototypical cleanup hitter power numbers, McGehee has without question been a presence in the Marlins lineup. And with All-Star rosters largely being voted on by fans — most of whom have probably never heard of OPS or WAR — his productivity should at least warrant some consideration.

McGehee leads all National League third basemen with 30 RBI (yes, RBI — I’m going old school with this argument). That’s also good for eighth best overall in the NL. His batting average has come back down to earth, but still stands at a solid .289. He has drawn 21 walks while striking out just 34 times, and added 11 doubles for good measure.

His .438 average with runners in scoring position is second best in the NL behind Troy Tulowitzki.

And, for the record, his OPS is .739 — rather impressive considering he’s hit just one home run.

2014 is a season where we could finally see multiple Marlins make the All-Star game. That hasn’t happened since 2010. Giancarlo Stanton is all but a guarantee. You could make an argument for Marcell Ozuna and his eight home runs, and there are probably more people who would vote for him than Casey McGehee.

But if you have watched the Marlins enough you know what I’m talking about. I guess there really is something to be said for the “eye test” (sabermetricians, shield your eyes) that speaks for Casey McGehee this year. He has been the most consistent hitter not named Stanton on this team, and he has proved the doubters wrong after returning to MLB following his Japan stint.

Don’t be surprised if he rediscovers his home run swing soon. Even in the worst statistical year of his career, McGehee still hit nine home runs in 2012. If he connects on a few more dingers in the coming months I would expect voters to take notice.

All-Star balloting is in full swing across Major League Baseball. It’s still early, with nearly two full months to go before the Midsummer Classic at Target Field. A lot can — and will — change between now and July 3 when voting ends. The numbers that players are posting to this point in the season might not tell the whole story. It’s easy to get caught up in a guy’s hot streak when it may just be a case of small sample size and the law of averages not yet catching up.

I don’t think Casey McGehee is on a so-called “hot streak.” I think this is the new Casey McGehee, yet another improved product courtesy of new Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino.

Maybe he’ll be representing the Marlins this July in Minnesota.