Miami Marlins Position Review: Third Base Grades

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Casey McGehee had a weird season.

The Marlins took a chance on the now-32 year-old veteran in 2014 and the results were a mixed bag.

After spending 2013 in Japan after failed tenures in 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees, McGehee

led the Nippon League with 28 home runs

mashed 28 home runs in the Nippon League. That was enough for the Marlins to come calling, but his former power did not translate this season.

On one hand he was a workhorse, appearing in 160 games (159 starts) and amassing a team-best 691 plate appearances. McGehee hit .287 — more on that later — and knocked in 76 RBI.

But he hit just four home runs, and grounded into more double plays (31!) than any other player in baseball. That lack of power just won’t get it done at the hot corner.

Writers and announcers praised McGehee for his “clutch” hits and average with runners in scoring position. He was “snubbed” by All-Star voters despite all his “production” hitting behind Giancarlo Stanton all season.

Yeah, yeah. Old fashioned hitting stats and the good old “eye test.” There’s a reason Casey McGehee was not an All-Star, and it’s simply that he did not deserve to be.

McGehee’s final slash line was .287/.355/.357/.712. The batting average is great, but he was largely a slap-happy singles hitter. He did have 29 doubles — not bad! — and one triple. Tack on the four homers and McGehee racked up 34 extra base hits for a total of 177 hits. That means he hit 143 singles. For a cleanup hitter who also plays a position that demands power, that’s pretty unremarkable if not underwhelming.

The numbers equate to Casey McGehee being a very average hitter in 2014. He finished with a 99 OPS+ and 102 wRC+, where 100 is considered league-average.

According to Baseball Reference he was worth 1.1 WAR, including -0.1 dWAR. That basically puts McGehee at reserve value, and shows that he didn’t really help on defense either.

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Because of that, I am giving him a C+. He gets a plus because, OK, he did perform in crucial situations, delivered game-winning hits and I’m sure provided some of that cliched veteran leadership to a very young team. Also, 76 RBI is nothing to scoff at. Only Stanton and Marcell Ozuna plated more runs for the Marlins.

The Marlins seem content with keeping McGehee as their third baseman for at least another year. His BABIP this season was .335, the highest of his career. There’s no way he matches that next season. If the 20 home run power comes back, then great! But that probably won’t happen, as McGehee has apparently “changed his approach” to become a “run producer” as opposed to a slugger.

McGehee is not the long-term answer at third base. He is on the wrong side of 30 and should be nothing more than a stopgap. It would probably be in the Marlins’ best interest to have a future fall-back plan in place, but they felt confident enough in McGehee to trade away the best third base prospect in their system, Colin Moran, at this year’s trade deadline. So, expect to see McGehee at third again next year.

Jul 2, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins shortstop

Ed Lucas

(left) steals third base as Philadelphia Phillies third baseman

Cody Asche

(right) is late on the tag during the first inning at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Lucas – D-

Our friend Chris Logel previously profiled Lucas’ performance in his shortstop position review, where he earned the same grade. The Marlins’ utility man is really the only other player worth mentioning at third base, as the team trotted McGehee out there just about every day. Lucas totaled 21.1 innings at the hot corner, and had just two starts there. But he didn’t do much anywhere he played in the field.

In 189 PA this season he hit .251/.283/.296/.580 with one home run and 9 RBI. Lucas was a very expendable player, and was claimed on waivers last week by the Texas Rangers.

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