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Casey McGehee named Sporting News Comeback Player of The Year

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Upon returning from Japan, Casey McGehee was solid in 2014. After a consistent year, Sporting News named McGehee the National League Comeback Player of The Year.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Giancarlo Stanton's name sticks out in the Marlins' lineup. And while Casey McGehee wasn't a name that many were watching before the start of the season, a hot start and consistent finish led to McGehee being named Sporting News' Comeback Player of The Year.

On the NL side, McGehee returned to the majors from a successful season in Japan to be the Marlins' everyday third baseman and cleanup hitter. Like Young, he was playing on a team-friendly one-year deal.

McGehee, who is likely to return as the Marlins' starting third baseman in 2015, posted a .287/.355/.357 batting line to complement four home runs and 76 RBIs. He appeared in all but two contests and posted a WAR of 2.0, which is significant considering Miami's lack of production from third base over the past few seasons.

When they signed him, the Marlins were confident McGehee would be able to protect Stanton in the lineup. For much of the first half and good portion of the second half of the year, he was able to do that. The power wasn't there for McGehee for most of the season, although his ability to post above average numbers with runners in scoring position likely made him a top candidate.

"I don't think anyone really knew what to expect from Casey going into the season," Marlins radio play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner told Sporting News."Certainly he'd had a couple of productive seasons with the Brewers in 2009 and especially 2010, but as he'd be the first to tell you, his phone wasn't exactly ringing off the hook with big league opportunities the last couple of winters."

Despite his success in Japan, McGehee wasn't a popular option last offseason. The fact that he was a veteran and is versatile when it came to creating the lineup made him attractive to the Marlins last winter.

Opponents were reluctant to pitch to Stanton because of his solid offensive numbers, and McGehee was more often than not able to make them pay. Considering he batted just .217 in 116 games in 2012, McGehee's offensive comeback is notable. McGehee was solid defensively, although the Marlins weren't concerned about his fielding when they signed him.

He added: "While it would be foolish to suggest opponents feared Casey the way they did Stanton, for the first time in his years with the Marlins, Giancarlo knew he didn't have to do everything by himself. He didn't have to chase a bad ball on 3-2 and get himself out. He could take the walk and, more times than not, it seemed like Casey came through. He provided Giancarlo some piece of mind."

Geffner also praised McGehee's defense and clubhouse presence.

Miami does not have much depth at the third base position, having just traded third base prospect Colin Moran to the Astros in July. Another solid season from McGehee, who seemingly bounced back with a lot of success, may make them feel good about the move.