What to expect from Casey McGehee

So what do we expect from McGehee? That is hard to peg as he has been a National League player for his entire career. He has played for the Cubs, Brewers and Pirates. McGehee was acquired mostly to serve as a stopgap for Alex Rodriguez at third with A-Rod out for six to eight weeks with a fractured bone in his hand. McGehee will likely platoon with Eric Chavez at third and the duo will give the Yankees very good defense at that corner no matter who plays. McGehee has had very positive fielding metrics the past two seasons. He had a low fielding percentage in 2011 with twenty errors, but his overall fielding was still regarded as above league standard.

So, McGehee will hold his own on defense. What about offense? His splits the last couple of seasons have strongly favored his right-handed bat against left-handed pitching. But his overall career numbers show a much closer balance between the splits. What is obvious from the splits is that he is a much more patient hitter against left-handed pitching. His walk rate is almost twelve percent against left-handers this season compared to six and a half percent against right-handed pitching. He will strike out twenty percent of the time no matter who is pitching and from which hand.

McGehee has also shown more power against lefties as his ISO is double what it is against right-handed pitching. Overall, his numbers, if consistent with the Yankees, show an effective right-handed bat against left-handed pitching with an OPS against such pitching of .807 and a wOBA of .348. That wOBA is forty points higher than last year when he had a brutal season, but not out of line with his career numbers.

Speaking of career numbers, Casey McGehee’s career wOBA against left-handed pitching is only three points higher than Jayson Nix, so offensively, he is not an upgrade over Nix. His presence will give the Yankees more options with Nix against left-handed pitching as Nix can play anywhere on the field. It would not be a surprise to see Nix in left on occasion against certain left-handed pitching now that the Yankees have McGehee to cover third.

The Yankees do not need McGehee to be great, though a hot streak would be welcome. They simply need him to capably play third and hit reasonably well against lefties, something he has shown he has a chance of doing.

About William Tasker

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

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