After signing Casey McGehee to a one year deal worth 1.1 million dollars this offseason, Marlins fans probably did not expect much from a player who had not had a season worth at least 1 fWAR since 2010. McGehee has struggled to find a permanent home in Major League Baseball since he had a successful stint with the Milwaukee Brewers, from 2009 to 2011. In fact, he even spent last season playing professionally in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, after he was unable to find any suitable MLB contract offers following the 2012 season.
Much to the surprise of many, McGehee has been very reliable this season, providing stability to the third base position, which has not had a consistent inhabitant since the days when a young Miguel Cabrera manned the hot corner. Miami is currently stocked with two promising young third base prospects, but for now Casey McGehee has been a very good stopgap.
So far this season, the thirty-one year old veteran McGehee is batting .307/.374/.385 with a .340 wOBA and a wRC+ of 115. That along with slightly below average to average defense, has made McGehee worth 1.3 fWAR in his first 74 games. That may not sound like much, but considering the low expectations going into this season McGehee is proving to be a very valuable signing. He has also come up big in important late game situations; he is hitting .354/.467/.479 in "late and close" situations in 60 plate appearances. Whether or not you believe in clutch, McGehee producing in these situations has been huge for Miami this season.
He has never been a defensive wizard, and his power numbers have not been what you would typically want from a corner infielder: he only has one homerun, but the high on base percentage, and performance in those late and close moments have made up for that to this point.
Now Casey McGehee will certainly not be a long term fixture at third base for the Miami Marlins. Zach Cox or Colin Moran will likely see time on the big league roster in 2015, but getting this type of production from such a low cost signing is always a positive. Currently McGehee's BABIP is .369 while is career mark is only .295, so it is unlikely that this performance will continue at the current level for the entire season. Common sense suggests that luck will even out as the season progresses. Even though his success appears to be unsustainable, and at some point he will come back down to earth, appreciate the important contributions he has made to keep the Marlins in contention during this tumultuous 2014 season. If the beginning of this season is any indication McGehee will continue to defy expectations and disprove this last paragraph by continuing to get on base, and continuing to drive in runs in big spots. This is one instance where I would not mind being proven wrong.