When the Rakuten Golden Eagles posted Masahiro Tanaka, the expectation around the league was that Tanaka would be in the running for a major award, be it the American Rookie of the Year Award or the CY Young Award. Unfortunately, Tanaka went down with an injury mid-season and was not eligible for an award.
That doesn’t mean the Golden Eagles would go without an award winner from their 2013 team. On Friday, Casey McGehee was named the National League Comeback Player of the Year.
The voting was done by 30 MLB.com beat writers from across the country. They nabbed McGehee for the NL and Chris Young for the AL. We don’t know if Casey was a unanimous winner.
In 2014, McGehee posted a .287/.355/.357 slash line and a .319 wOBA, good for a 2.0 fWAR (Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement. In the first half, McGehee’s slash line of .319/.386/.391 slash line with a .324 wOBA garnered him some All-Star interest, including having his name on the Final Ballot, but ultimately, he didn’t cut the All-Star game roster.
McGehee’s first half success even gave the Marlins the foolish idea of trading their future third baseman Colin Moran (yes, we got Jarret Cosart, but that’s a story for another day) to the Astros at the trading deadline.
That first half success was dependent on a .369 BABIP, which did not seem sustainable to me to last the entire year. I was proven correct in the second half, when McGehee’s BABIP dipped to .284 and his slash line of, .243/.310/.310 soon followed.
McGehee is eligible for arbitration for the final time, thus is under Marlins team control. The team has indicated it will bring Casey back for at least another year, but the slam dunk extension he was expected to get mid-way through the season doesn’t seem as likely now.
If he can refind his power stroke in 2015, the Marlins should do alright with McGehee manning either corner spot. If he cannot refind the power stroke, the Marlins are likely to have another blackhole season from an infield spot.
We at Marlin Maniac would love to congratulate McGehee on his honor of winning this award. Hopefully he has bigger and a more powerful season in store for 2015.