Masahiro Tanaka may not be the best player to come out of Nippon Professional Baseball this year, especially if he misses the year because of Tommy John surgery. The Miami Marlins would have the honor of having the best player from NPB, and his name is Casey McGehee.
McGehee crushed 28 home runs last year on the Japanese Pacific League championship team Rakuten Golden Eagles. Ironically, it was the same team that Tanaka was on last year as well. McGehee signed with the Marlins for one year at $1.1 million, and it could be the best money Miami has ever spent on a free agent acquisition.
The third baseman is tied for the NL lead in hits and made the All-Star Game Final Vote, but ended up losing to the Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo. McGehee is hitting .319/.386/.391 with 53 RBIs and only one home run. His 115 hits is the stat that stands out the most, and it is great seeing a player like McGehee adjust well after spending a year out of the majors.
Coming into the season, the starting third baseman was going to be a stopgap until next year when Colin Moran eventually made his big league debut. But because Moran is not progressing as quickly in the minors as the team would have hoped, McGehee is now playing for a starting role next season.
Hitting behind Giancarlo Stanton is doing wonders for him, and if he continues his torrid pace, McGehee will have earned himself another contract with the Marlins — or a bigger somewhere else.