What kind of a hitter will Casey McGehee be? That will remain to be seen but his plus homer power was on display in Japan this past season after bouncing around a bit in the bigs the last few years between Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and the Yankees.
His comments, however, over what kind of potential Masahiro Tanaka has as a starter in MLB are quite interesting. The following comes from an article in the Sun-Sentinel:
“You could see from day one he’s kind of a different animal,” McGehee said. “He’s unbelievably competitive. The jury is out on how many pitches he has, but he’s got at least three that are weapons, not just pitches he uses here and there. He can lean on any one of his fastball-slider-split at any time. His forkball is the best one I’ve seen. A lot of guys over there throw one. He’s the one guy that was able to manipulate it and have it do what he wanted. He could throw it for strikes. He could take speed off of it. He could throw it harder. He could bounce it. He was really special with that pitch.”
This shows that he at least has done his homework on what kinds of pitches Tanaka is capable of throwing and he even gives some insight into what he prefers to get hitters out. Why is this important? Well, it shows McGehee to be at least a better study of pitchers than a free-swinger may normally be. If that is the case, that is a very positive development. The Marlins have talked about going with a “Marlins way” approach at the plate. They even brought over Brett Butler as a coach, which could see the Marlins looking to make more contact and moving players around the basepaths. If McGehee is this knowledgeable about a pitcher who has seen for the past year, on his own team, then maybe this will be a portion of his game that he will be looking to improve.