Casey McGehee, Chris Young named Comeback Players of the Year


Major League Baseball named the 2014 Comeback Players of the Year on Friday, honoring Casey McGehee in the National League and Chris Young in the American League.

McGehee, 32, joined the Miami Marlins last December after spending the 2013 season in Japan playing for the Rakuten Golden Eagles (as a teammate of Masahiro Tanaka). He came into Spring Training under the assumption that he’d have to fight for at bats, but McGehee got off to a hot start in the season’s first half. He’d end up appearing in 160 games, batting .287/.355/.357 in 691 plate appearances. While he walked a career-high 67 times, he’s not without his drawbacks at the plate – grounding into an NL high 31 double plays and showing an absence of power (just 4 HR, though he did hit 29 doubles).

Under control for 2015 in his final year of arbitration, McGehee figures to be a big piece of the team’s lineup heading into 2015 but it remains to be seen whether or not the club will actively look to sign him to an extension without first seeing that production continue. McGehee averaged 17 HR and 79 RBI a season through his final three years with the Brewers and there’s hope he’ll find his power stroke again with Miami.

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Young, 35, spent the 2013 season with the Washington Nationals organization but injuries limited him to just nine starts across three levels. Washington re-signed him following the season to another minor league deal, but released him during Spring Training when it became apparent he wasn’t going to win a spot on their Opening Day roster. Young signed with the Seattle Mariners a few days later. The right-hander made 29 starts for the Mariners, throwing 165.0 IP with a 3.65 ERA, 1.230 WHIP, and a 12-9 record. It was arguably the best he’s pitched since 2007.

Young is a free agent and has reportedly expressed an interest in returning to Seattle, but it remains unclear how willing the team will be to guarantee him a roster spot as Taijuan Walker is considered ready to step into the team’s starting rotation.

The Comeback Players of the Year Awards are voted on by the team’s beat writers.