Down on the Farm – Casey McGehee

In this article we take a look at Casey McGehee, one of the last non-roster players to be invited to spring training. This is his second year as a non-roster invitee but this spring has not been a good one for McGehee. He has not received much playing time to showcase his skills, appearing in just 10 games and getting only 7 at-bats. He has been a pinch runner and a pinch-hitter, which makes it hard to get anything going at the plate. The Cubs invited him to spring training but based on his playing time he obviously does not have a serious chance to make the team….despite surviving the first round of cuts on Monday.

McGehee is in his 5th season as a Cub after being picked in the 10th round (283rd overall) in the 2003 amateur draft. He finished the 2006 season at AAA after playing a full year there. He will likely start the season in Iowa and should play the entire year there, again barring any injuries. McGehee plays 3rd base and the Cubs have just re-signed Aramis Ramirez to a 5-year deal so the chances of McGehee taking over at 3rd anytime soon are very slim. With that in mind, McGehee asked to return to catching as he has the reputation of being the ultimate team player.

He has experience as a catcher and some experience at both first base and second base while in the Cubs minor league system. He has not done much catching since 2004 and his chances of making the team as a catcher are probably worse if you look at the number of catchers in the Cubs’ system. He has been a good player in the minors but he isn’t seen as one of the Cubs’ best prospects. Scout.com has him rated as the 20th best Cubs prospect, along with Chris Walker.

McGehee has a better than average chance to make the big leagues but my feeling is that it will be with another team. I see him improving his skills and being included in a trade or signing with another team somewhere down the road. After the off-season with all the money the Cubs spent they are set at the positions he can play for years to come. He could play first base but Derrek Lee is not going anywhere, second base is his best chance but I feel that Ryan Theriot is the better option there. With that being said McGehee will never be much more than a bench player with Chicago and that is not the best way to improve on your skills.

What McGehee does well is hit. Although he hasn’t put up a stellar batting average in the minors but I see him batting around .310 to .320 once he makes the big leagues. He has average power and average speed so he won’t hit 40 home runs or steal 40 bases. McGehee is a good contact hitter and can hit the ball to all fields. During the 2006 season McGehee had a 16-game hitting streak and a 34-game on-base streak. He hit .280, a .336 OBP, 28 doubles and 68 RBI’s in 135 games (a career high). That shows that he not only has a good eye for hitting but he has a good eye period. One of the Cubs problems has been getting people on base so McGehee could be an answer for that if he ever gets a chance. He has a great viewpoint on hitting versus taking a free base. He feels that taking a walk is actually better than a single because you are able to drive up the pitchers count. During winter ball in the Mexican Pacific League he hit .300 with 7 home runs and 36 RBI’s. In 2005 he was named to the Southern League Midseason All-Star team.

If you look at McGehee since he joined the Cubs, you see a guy that has improved and has worked very hard toward his ultimate goal; and I think that day will eventually come. He has moved up one level each year and if not for a solid Cubs team he might have had a chance to break camp with the big league team this year. Basically, if he were part of another minor league system he might have had a better chance this season. He can use the 2007 season at AAA to build on his resume and to hone his defensive skills behind the plate. If he continues to be patient as a hitter he will accomplish his goal; the big question is whether he will be patient enough to wait for the Cubs to give him that chance or if he will get it with another team. Either way he should be a solid player and have a solid career at the major league level once his time comes.

Scout.com Top 20 Prospects

1. Felix Pie
2. Donald Veal
3. Mark Pawelek
4. Eric Patterson
5a. Jeff Samardzija
5b. Sean Gallagher
6. Tyler Colvin
7. Scott Moore
8. Ryan Harvey
9. Jae-Kuk Ryu (traded to Tampa Bay)
10. Clay Rapada
11. Brian Dopirak
12. Chris Shaver
13. Jake Fox
14. Randy Wells
15. Mitch Atkins
16. Adam Harben
17. Billy Petrick
18. Carmen Pignatiello
19. Rocky Cherry
20a. Casey McGehee
20b. Chris Walker

Full Name: Casey M. McGehee
Height: 6-1, Weight: 190
Bats: R, Throws R
Born: October 12, 1982

Casey McGehee’s Baseball Cube page

Coming Next: Down on the Farm – Mike Kinkade

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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