||Born: October 12, 1982
Drafted: 10th Round, 283rd Overall, 2003 (Cubs)
How Acquired: Trade (for Jose Veras)
College: Fresno State University
Agent: Meister Sports Management
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|McGehee was a surprise find for the Brewers in 2009. He’d never been considered more than a marginal prospect with the Cubs. He was only a decent hitter in the minors; the Cubs even tried several times to move him behind the plate. He eventually won the Brewers’ thirdbase job, though, and had very good seasons in 2009-10. He had a miserable 2011 season, though, prompting the Brewers to sign Aramis Ramirez to play third, quickly followed by a trade to the Pirates for reliever Jose Veras.
McGehee has benefited a great deal from the HR-friendly environs of Miller Park in Milwaukee. He’s hit 271/333/452 there, 265/320/426 overall. He doesn’t have a platoon split; he’s had a .743 OPS against LHPs, .747 against RHPs. He was poor defensively when he first took over the Brewers’ thirdbase job, but according to both UZR and +/- he was much-improved in 2011. He played second occasionally in the minors and started 20 games there in the majors in 2009. He’s played a handful of games at first in many of his major and minor league seasons. He doesn’t run well at all and hits into a lot of double plays.
McGehee went straight to low A rather than short-season ball after signing. He respectably, with some doubles power and little patience at the plate. He played strictly third.
Put up almost identical numbers in high A, but with better walk and K rates. He spent about a quarter of his time behind the plate, the rest at third.
McGehee improved in AA, with still better plate discipline, but still only doubles power. He played mostly third, with a few games at first and second. He didn’t catch.
In AAA, McGehee had about the same season as the year before, except not quite as good. He again played mostly third, with a few games at all the other infield positions.
The Cubs sent McGehee back to AA for most of the season, possibly in a renewed effort to convert him to catching. He split his time in AA between that and third. The catching didn’t go too badly; he had ten passed balls in just 48 games, but he threw out 35% of opposing base stealers. At the plate, he hit about the same as he had in AA two years earlier, but not quite as well.
The Cubs moved McGehee back up to AAA and he returned to third, although he did catch in 17 games, and he played a few at first and second. He had a solid but not outstanding season. The Cubs added him to the roster and called him up for September, but waived him in the fall.
McGehee made the Brewers’ roster out of spring training and opened the season in a utility role, playing little initially. In mid-May, though, he began getting starts at second with Rickie Weeks hurt. In late July, the Brewers acquired Felipe Lopez to play second and McGehee replaced the struggling Bill Hall at third. He ended up with a strong season, showing power he’d never shown in the minors. He finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting, in a strong year for rookies. (Andrew McCutchen finished fourth.)
McGehee played third all year and put up good numbers, including 104 RBIs. He actually didn’t hit quite as well as in 2009, but played every day and so had more impressive counting numbers.
McGehee collapsed at the plate, struggling badly in every month except April and August. His plate discipline declined only a little, but he hit a lot more ground balls and fewer line drives than previously. In fact, he had one of the NL’s highest groundball rates, which combined with his lack of speed to produce a dismal .249 batting average on balls in play. On the plus side, the low BABIP may indicate that he suffered a great deal from bad luck. The Brewers kept him at third most of the season, but replaced him throughout the post-season with Jerry Hairston.
McGehee will platoon with Garrett Jones at first and serve as a fallback at third in case Pedro Alvarez struggles. He’s a risky acquisition. His minor league track record suggests his “true” level is much closer to what he hit in 2011 than in 2009-10, and that the latter two seasons were just an age 26-27 power spike that he can’t sustain, which isn’t at all unusual. The move from Miller to PNC Park, which is terrible for right-handed power, also won’t help him. He did, however, come to spring training in much better shape than he’d been in with the Brewers, which could help.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2003
MLB Debut: 9/2/2008
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2015
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: September 1, 2008
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 3.028
|June 3, 2003: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 10th round, 283rd overall pick; signed on June 12.
September 1, 2008: Contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs.
October 29, 2008: Claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.
December 12, 2011: Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jose Veras.