How will Casey McGehee's story end?
After falling out of the majors two years ago, Casey McGehee is on the verge of the All-Star team. Can he keep his strong start up in the second half?
Casey McGehee's story over the last few years has been like something out of a movie.
Once a promising young slugging third baseman for the Brewers, McGehee tumbled out of the league two years ago. McGehee hit 28 home runs and drove in 93 runs while leading the Tohoku Golden Eagles to the Japan Series title last season, and then fought his way back into the majors with a spring training invite from the Marlins.
That he is among the National League's All-Star finalists should be validation enough for McGehee, even if he doesn't make the team. And any Fantasy owner who took a shot on him after his hot first few weeks has to feel similarly validated, as he has been one of the most productive third basemen in the league with the All-Star break looming.
McGehee has 53 RBI in 88 games, putting him on pace for 97 RBI in 162 games. He has produced that total despite just one home run. In fact, he has just an .073 isolated slugging percentage, the lowest mark of any third baseman who has qualified for the batting title. According to Baseball-Reference.com's play index, McGehee is on pace to be just the third player since 1950 to finish a season with 90-plus RBI and an ISO below .100.
McGehee has made up for his severe lack of pop in a few ways. First, he has had the good fortune of hitting behind Giancarlo Stanton all season, who has been on base constantly. He also has had the good fortune of a .373 Batting Average on Balls In Play, up from a career mark of .298. That BABIP number spikes to .451 with runners in scoring position, which helps explain why his batting line jumps to .398/.478/.462 in those situations.
McGehee's time overseas certainly appears to have helped his plate discipline, as he sliced his strikeout rate to a career-low 13.7 percent, while raising his walk rate to 10.6 percent. Unfortunately, he has also basically turned into a ground-ball hitting slap hitter, making his RBI totals seem more than a little inflated.
As good a story as McGehee has been in the first half of the season, this is unlikely to be a tale with a happy ending. Much of his value for Fantasy purposes (8th in Fantasy scoring among third basemen) has been due to his batting average and high RBI totals. However, he has been incredibly lucky with balls in play so far, and that luck likely won't last forever.
McGehee has given you tremendous value as a waiver-wire pickup this year. The best he might be able to do from here on out is net you a piece with more upside for the second half.
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