Results tagged ‘ Casey McGehee ’

McGehee to miss opener in SD

The Brewers just announced that third baseman Casey McGehee would not be traveling with the team tonight to San Diego, where a four-game series begins Thursday. McGehee will instead remain in Milwaukee, where his wife, Sarah, is expecting the couple’s second child. He could then re-join the team on Friday. 

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Brewers have worked waiver wonders

casey-mcgehee.jpgThe addition of Marco Estrada on Wednesday had me thinking back to some of the Brewers’ notable waiver wire additions, from GM Doug Melvin’s first-ever acquisition (Scott Podsednik) in 2002 to a Cubs castoff-turned-Brewers starter (Casey McGehee) in 2008. 

The waiver wire is especially important to lower-budget teams like the Brewers, and Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash, head pro scout Dick Groch and the rest of Milwaukee’s front office has fared pretty well over the years. 
Here’s a look at their pick-ups, organized into three tiers. Who would you rate as Melvin’s best find? What about the biggest disappointment?
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McGehee runs fifth in NL rookie vote

casey-mcgehee.jpgBrewers third baseman Casey McGehee finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting, the results of which were announced Monday. Not too shabby for a player plucked off waivers who didn’t move into Milwaukee’s starting lineup until May 19 and played the whole season on a bum knee.

Florida outfielder Chris Coghlan won the award in the NL and Oakland reliever Andrew Bailey won in the American League. Coghlan, who led NL rookies in batting average (.321), runs (84), hits (162), doubles (31), total bases (232), multi-hit games (51) and on-base percentage (.390), was followed by pitchers J.A. Happ of the Phillies and Tommy Hanson of the Braves, outfielder Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates and then McGehee.

McGehee received one first place vote, three second-place votes and four third-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America for 18 total points, based on a 5-3-1 tabulation system. He was bidding to be the Brewers second rookie winner in three years. Ryan Braun won in 2007, the first Brewer so honors since Pat Listach in 1992.

“I finished right about where I thought I would,” McGehee said Monday after seeing the results. “I think you could have made a very strong case for a lot of people, and Coghlan was obviously very deserving. Congratulations to him.

“Now that this is over with, we can finally put 2009 to bed and focus on next year. I’m excited about the chance to improve on this year and help the team get to where it needs to be.”

In 116 games, McGehee batted .301 with 16 home runs and led all Major League rookies with 66 RBIs. The Brewers didn’t exactly that level of production coming; they claimed McGehee off waivers from the Cubs in October 2008 but entered 2009 Spring Training with Bill Hall as the third baseman and veterans Mike Lamb and Craig Counsell expected to back him up.

McGehee’s strong spring in part prompted the Brewers to release Lamb, and when Hall’s slump extended into mid-May and Counsell was called to replace injured second baseman Rickie Weeks, manager Ken Macha turned to McGehee at the hot corner.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t confident. If I got a chance, I thought I would be successful,” McGehee said back in September. “I’ve always believed that, that’s for sure. By no means do I feel like I have it figured out, but I knew that if I got a chance to be a part of the team I could be a big contributor.”

He was a big contributor despite chronic knee pain that required arthroscopic surgery the week following the regular season finale. McGehee has a lesion in his knee, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash, that causes fragments of bone to break away. He could have had a more intensive surgery to inject healthy cells into the knee to promote re-growth but it was a riskier procedure that could have sidelined McGehee weeks or even months into the 2010 season.

Instead, McGehee opted for what Ash termed a more “intermediate” fix. He’s had no complications since the surgery, Ash reported on Monday morning.

McGehee confirmed that positive report, and said he is already a month into his rehab. He is scheduled to be in Milwaukee on Friday for a follow-up visit with Dr. William Raasch, the Brewers’ head physician who performed the surgery.

“I feel good, and I would be absolutely shocked if he saw anything he didn’t like,” McGehee said. “It feels like a normal knee to me again, which is a good sign. It’s back to the point now where I’m trying to get the muscles around the knee stronger.”

Assuming he doesn’t have a setback, McGehee should enter 2010 as Milwaukee’s starter at third base, with prospect Mat Gamel waiting in the wings. That doesn’t mean McGehee is taking anything for granted.

“As soon as you get comfortable, it comes up and bites you,” he said. “You stop working and you get complacent. I’m just trying to come in to play every day, and if I don’t be ready to come off the bench. That’s how I’m always going to approach it in my career, whether I’m an everyday player or not.”

Does he feel he’s proven himself as an everyday player?

“I don’t know,” he said. “There’s so much other stuff that goes into it. I feel like I had an OK year, but sometimes people worry about stuff like that, about [decisions] that are really not in their control. The only thing I can control is being in good shape come Spring Training, work hard in the offseason to prepare myself to play, and then it’s really out of your hands. It’s up to the guys who make the decisions to decide what they’re going to do.”

Here are the full results:

National League Rookie of the Year balloting
                                                     1st     2nd     3rd     Points
Chris Coghlan, Marlins                     17       6         2         105
J.A. Happ, Phillies                            10      11       11          94
Tommy Hanson, Braves                    2         6        9           37
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates              2         5                     25
Casey McGehee, Brewers                  1        3         4          18
Randy Wells, Cubs                                       1                      3
Garret Jones, Pirates                                              2            2
Everth Cabrera, Padres                                          1         &nbs
p;  1
Dexter Fowler, Rockies                                           1            1
Gerardo Parra, D-backs                                          1            1
Colby Rasmus, Cardinals                                        1            1


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McGehee knows he's a long-shot for rookie honor

Baseball’s Rookie of the Year Award winners will be unveiled Monday, but Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee won’t be sitting next to the phone.

“Hopefully I can be a good trivia question: Who finished second or third behind so-and-so in the 2009 rookie vote?” McGehee said near the end of his breakout season. “I would be happy for anyone who wins. You can make a really good argument for six or seven guys.”

The Brewers did their part to make the argument for McGehee in the National League half of the rookie race. During the final homestand, they distributed signs that promoted “MVPrince” on one side and “Casey for Rook-hee of the Year” on the other.

A waiver claim from the Cubs who reported to 2009 Spring Training as a long shot to make the Brewers’ roster, McGehee took advantage of incumbent third baseman Bill Hall’s continued slump and became the team’s most pleasant surprise. He played in only 116 games, but led NL rookies with 66 RBIs, ranked second with a .301 batting average and tied for second with 16 home runs.

McGehee finished strong, batting .337 with five homers and 26 RBIs in September and October to win NL Rookie of the Month. Only the Phillies’ Ryan Howard, with 27 RBIs, had more than McGehee.

Still, McGehee doesn’t think he’ll win when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announces the top rookie on Monday afternoon. The award is decided by a vote of BBWAA members.

“I never set that as something I was worried about or even wanted to think about,” he said of the award. “To me, it’s just as nice to be mentioned in that category. So that’s the thrill of it for me, and I’ll look back and be proud that my name was in there.

“But I still feel the same as I have all along. For the most part, it’s an award for big-time prospects. It would be awesome if somebody proved me wrong, but by no means do I think that’s going to happen.”

For McGehee’s predictions and some other candidates for the NL rookie honor, check out my story on  And for those of you who want to make your own pick, I attached PDF files that include the NL’s rookie pitching and batting departmental leaders.

NL rookie hitting leaders.pdf
NL rookie pitching leaders.pdf


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Awards season is here

fielder-braun.jpgIt’s awards season in Major League Baseball. Will any Brewers walk the red carpet?

The announcement of American League Gold Glove Award winners on Tuesday kick-starts a two-week run of honors that culminates Nov. 24 with the National League MVP. Here’s a rundown, and where the Brewers might fit:

Tuesday, Nov. 10 – AL Gold Gloves
Wednesday, Nov. 11 – NL Gold Gloves

The Brewers haven’t had a Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner since Robin Yount won as a shortstop in 1982, but left fielder Ryan Braun figures to win a few before his career is over. Braun certainly made some mistakes in his second season as an outfielder but was charged with only two errors — his first two in two seasons since a move off third base. Braun rates low in the defensive statistical metrics, but because Gold Gloves almost always go to very good offensive players who happen to play solid defense — and not necessarily the game’s best defensive players — he’s got a chance.

Mike Cameron should also be in the mix after another season running down baseballs in center field. Cameron is a three-time Gold Glover, last in 2006 with the Padres.

I think Fielder deserves a mention here as well, because he made tremendous strides in 2009 while working endlessly with infield coach Willie Randolph. He still doesn’t have the reach of, say, Chicago’s Derrek Lee or reigning NL Gold Glove first baseman Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres, but Fielder improved dramatically at picking balls out of the dirt this season. Give Fielder credit for wanting to be an all-around player.

Thursday, Nov. 12 – Silver Sluggers
The award, given to a player at each position in each league, was first presented in 1980 and is determined by a vote of baseball’s managers and coaches. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m. CT on MLB Network.

Prince Fielder
was the last to win a Silver Slugger Award, for his 50-homer season in 2007. Fielder put together an even better year in 2009, batting a career-best .299 with 46 home runs and 141 RBIs while playing all 162 games. He tied Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard for the NL RBI crown, but Howard is also a first baseman and will draw notice. So will Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who led baseball with 47 homers and a 1.101 OPS.

Braun probably has a better chance to win among NL left fielders. He ranked second to Marlins rookie Chris Coghlan with a .320 batting average, second to the Phillies’ Raul Ibanez with 32 RBIs and a .551 slugging percentage and led NL left fielders with 114 RBIs.

Monday, Nov. 16 – Rookie of the Year
Both the AL winner and the NL winner will be announced this day, at 1 p.m. CT. The Brewers pushed hard for third baseman Casey McGehee, who emerged from the waiver wire to be a major contributor to the team in 2009. McGehee started only one of the Brewers’ first 38 games, but finished with a .301 average, 16 home runs and 66 RBIs in 116 games. He led all Major League rookies in RBIs, including 27 over the final 31 games.

Unfortunately for McGehee, the NL had a number of impressive rookies in 2009. Florida’s Coghlan, Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen or utility man Garrett Jones, Philadelphia pitcher J.A. Happ and Atlanta pitcher Tommy Hanson are among them.

Tuesday, Nov. 17 – AL Cy Young Award

Wednesday, Nov. 18 – Manager of the Year
Like the rookie honor, a manager from each league will be honored at 1 p.m. CT. Brewers skipper Ken Macha isn’t a candidate after his team went 80-82 and finished third in the NL Central. Macha will have to settle to returning to the manager’s office for a second season.

Thursday, Nov.19 – NL Cy Young Award
Pitchers from non-playoff teams who tied for the worst starters’ ERA in baseball don’t win Cy Youngs, so Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo is out. He did have a nice bounce-back year after missing most of 2008 with a knee injury, becoming the fourth Brewers pitcher ever to cross the 200-strikeout plateau. Catcher Jason Kendall predicted that Gallardo will win multiple Cy Young Awards before his career is over.

Monday, Nov. 23 – AL MVP

Tuesday, Nov. 24 – NL MVP
Minus Pujols’ season for the ages, Fielder would be a strong candidate to be the Brewers’ first league MVP since Yount in 1989. But with Pujols considered the clear frontrunner for the award, Fielder may have to settle for a runner-up finish. Fielder finished third in MVP balloting in 2007. Braun, who finished third in MVP balloting in 2008, will once again place in 2009.

Who are your picks for the major postseason awards? You can post your predictions in the comments.


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Bill James sees solid season for Gamel

Just got an e-mail from stat guru Bill James‘ publisher and thought I would pass it along. It includes a positive prognostication for Mat Gamel — if he plays — but not so much for Rickie Weeks. Another 200-strikeout season for right-hander Yovani Gallardo but only 12 wins, and another struggle for lefty Manny Parra.

They key “if” in these projections is playing time. For example, the release offers projections for Gamel, Weeks and Casey McGehee assuming at least 425 at-bats for each, but it’s difficult to envision that scenario. James explains in his quote below.

Here’s the text:

In the recently-released Bill James Handbook 2010, baseball guru Bill James projects the 2010 seasons for players on the Milwaukee Brewers — and predicts a potentially solid year from third baseman Mat Gamel.

“In any season, the vast majority of players play in a manner that seems a natural extension of what they had done before,” James says in his new book. “When that happens, our projection should be reasonably accurate.”

Although he’s been in the projection business for almost twenty years, one thing James has no control over is playing time. “It is always my argument that we have no chance of figuring out, in October 2009, who will get playing time in 2010,” James says. “But what we should do is try to answer this question: If this player plays, how will he play?”

With this in mind, here are the five key Milwaukee hitters for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:

Key Brewers Hitters (by OPS)
Player                   At-bats     R     HR    RBI     SB     Avg.    OPS
Ryan Braun             615     112     39    119      17     .315    .972
Prince Fielder          601     103     44    124       3      .286    .967
Mat Gamel              455      65      17     73       3      .277    .817
Rickie Weeks          425      80      16     48      14     .259    .807
Casey McGehee      492      63      15     76       0      .272    .757

Projecting stats for pitchers is very different from projecting offensive stats for hitters. “We used to believe that pitching performance was much, much less predictable than batter performance,” James says. “This is probably still true…due to injuries and other factors. Sometimes a pitcher gets hurt, and when that happens our projections for him are knocked into a cocked hat.”

Here are the three key Milwaukee pitchers for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:

Key Brewers Pitchers (by ERA)
Player                       IP     W    L     K      SV    ERA
Trevor Hoffman         63     4     3     57     39     2.43
Yovani Gallardo       186    12    8     205     0     3.53
Manny Parra           147     7     9     130     0     4.59

The complete projections for the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers can be found in the Bill James Handbook 2010.

For further information on the Bill James Handbook 2010 go to


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Counsell, Looper undergo surgery

Brewers infielder Craig Counsell and right-hander Braden Looper each underwent arthroscopic surgeries on Tuesday to repair the meniscus in their respective right knees. The procedures, performed by Dr. William Raasch, were “routine,” per a team spokesperson.

Both Counsell, who is a free agent, and Looper, whose contract includes a mutual option for 2010, played through knee pain all season. Counsell mulled surgery at the end of Spring Training but ultimately decided against it. Looper surrendered a Major League-worst 39 home runs this season and wondered aloud during the season’s final weekend whether his persistent knee pain played a role.

The Brewers have until 10 days after the World Series to decide on their half of Looper’s $6.5 million option. If they decline, he gets a $1 million buyout. If the team exercises its half, Looper has three days to decide whether to accept.

Tuesday’s procedures brought to four the number of “clean up” surgeries performed by Raasch since the end of the season. Raasch also removed loose bodies from third baseman Casey McGehee’s right knee, and repaired the AC joint in pitcher Manny Parra’s left shoulder.

For more on all four players, see my story about the pending surgeries from Oct. 5.


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Tidbits: Hoffman, Suppan, Sheets, Hardy

The discussion about whether the Brewers would trade Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder was the most interesting part of general manager Doug Melvin’s year-end wrap-up with the media, but here’s a taste of the other topics discussed:

– The Brewers officially announced their new deal with closer Trevor Hoffman, who re-signed for one year plus a mutual option for 2011. The contract guarantees $8 million and could pay as much as $16.5 million over two years. 

 “By signing Trevor Hoffman, that was a big splash for us,” Melvin said. “If our pitching is going to improve, we have to keep the success we had at the back end of our bullpen. And also, to attract free agent starting pitchers, one of the first questions they always want to know is, ‘Who is the closer?'” 

– Melvin hinted that the focus on pitching could make it difficult for the team to re-sign its key free agents, including center fielder Mike Cameron and catcher Jason Kendall. Rickie Weeks is the second baseman, Melvin reiterated, making it likely that free agent Felipe Lopez will also be let go.

Assistant GM Gord Ash conceded that it’s difficult for teams to win with unproven players up the middle but insisted it can be done. He mentioned Lorenzo Cain and Logan Schafer as the team’s top center field prospects and said Jonathan Lucroy was the team’s top catching prospect. Interestingly, Angel Salome’s name was not brought up.

Jeff Suppan, the Brewers’ 2009 Opening Day starter, is not guaranteed a spot in the 2010 starting rotation despite his $12.5 million salary. It will be the final season of his four-year contract, and he projects as the team’s highest-paid player for the second straight year. 

“I think Jeff is a professional and he knows that he will come into camp and [compete],” Melvin said. “You have to give him some credit for the fact he’s been given the ball a lot of years. He’s very seldom injured. … I don’t think there will be very many guarantees about who will be in the rotation. We probably have to make it more competitive to get better.” 

– Free agent righty Ben Sheets, who missed all of 2009 following elbow surgery, is still on the Brewers’ radar.

“Ben is somebody who would have to be on anybody’s list when it comes to improving your pitching staff,” Ash said. “We’re not up to date with his physical condition right now since he’s no longer in our care, so that would have to be Step 1. But from our point of view, we enjoyed Ben as part of the Brewers and there’s been, ‘once in a while’ conversations with his agent to remind him that we still have that ongoing interest. It hasn’t been followed-up yet.”

– Melvin already interviewed one potential pitching coach on Monday and was to travel with Ash on Thursday to interview another candidate. He wouldn’t say whether he had already spoken with former A’s and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, an early favorite for the position because of his past working relationships with Brewers manager Ken Macha and bench coach Willie Randolph

“We don’t want to advertise who we’re looking at,” Melvin said. “The cat’s out of the bag on one guy. I interviewed him on Monday and another team interviewed him the next day.” 

– Ash shed more light on the options that faced third baseman Casey McGehee, who underwent successful surgery on Tuesday. McGehee has a lesion in his knee, Ash said, that causes fragments of bone to break away. He could have had a more intensive procedure to inject healthy cells into the knee to promote re-growth but it was a riskier procedure that could have sidelined McGehee weeks or even months into the 2010 season. 

“He elected, after consulting with a couple of surgeons, to have kind of the intermediary procedure done, and that was to take out all of the fragments and hope that area of his knee remains intact,” Ash said. “We don’t have 100 percent guarantee on that. What we do know about Casey is that he’s an excellent worker and he’s motivated.” 

– Melvin did little to dispute the notion that shortstop J.J. Hardy will be traded this winter to make room for Alcides Escobar. Hardy’s value is down both because of his poor 2009 season (he batted .229 and was optioned to the Minors in August) and because the rest of the league knows that the Brewers are ready to install Escobar. 

“It might be down a little bit,” Melvin said of Hardy’s value. “But there are still clubs that have interest in him. Shortstop is a big hole to fill.”


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Surgeries set for Counsell, Parra, McGehee, Looper

Add Craig Counsell and Manny Parra to the list of Brewers set for arthroscopic surgeries in the coming days to fix problems that nagged all season. 

Counsell, fellow infielder Casey McGehee and pitcher Braden Looper will each undergo relatively minor procedures next week to clean up right knee injuries and pitcher Parra will have surgery on his left shoulder.

All four procedures will be performed by Dr. William Raasch, the team’s head physician. In chronological order: 

– Parra will undergo what a club official stressed was a routine surgery Tuesday to clean up the AC joint in his left shoulder. The procedure has been planned for some time, and the injury did not prevent Parra from making his final starts of the season. 

It’s also “not even remotely close” to the shoulder issues in Parra’s past, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash. Parra had season-ending surgery in August 2005 to repair a torn rotator cuff. 

“What Dr. Raasch is going to do is eliminate the friction” outside of Parra’s shoulder joint, Ash said. “It’s nothing inside the joint. It’s been nagging him all year, but not nagging to the point where he couldn’t pitch. There is some irritation there, so we’re going to take this opportunity to eliminate it. It’s kind of like having a pebble in your shoe.”

Ash hoped the surgery would provide some peace of mind for Parra, who had a trying season. He went 11-11 but posted a 6.36 ERA in 27 starts and spent three weeks in the Minor Leagues following a June demotion. Of the 67 National League pitchers who worked at least 100 innings, only teammate Dave Bush (6.38) had a higher ERA than Parra. 

– As previously reported, McGehee will also have surgery on Tuesday, to clean out loose bodies from his right knee. McGehee played most of the season with pain in the joint, and has known since the All-Star break that he would probably require surgery. 

McGehee enjoyed a breakthrough season in spite of the constant knee pain, which affected him more in the field than at the plate. He singled in his first at-bat in Sunday’s season finale to finish with a .301 batting average, and his 66 RBIs led all Major League rookies. McGehee also hit 16 home runs. 

Manager Ken Macha pulled McGehee from Sunday’s game early to preserve his batting average. 

“That’s something he by no means had to do, and I appreciated it,” McGehee said. “I thought [my year] went pretty well. I want to get my defense back next year to where I expect it to be at. Other than that, I feel like I had a solid year.” 

– Also, as expected, Looper will have surgery next week to fix torn meniscus in his right knee. Looper told reporters on Saturday that he pitched all year with the issue. 

He led the Brewers and set a career high with 14 wins and led the National League with 34 starts, but also led the Majors by allowing 113 earned runs, 39 home runs and posted a 5.22 ERA. Looper wondered aloud whether the pain in his knee contributed to his trouble keeping the ball in the park. 

“I tried the best I can to get the ball down because that’s my whole game,” Looper said Saturday. “I don’t know [if the knee played a part in pitches staying up]. I know I haven’t been as consistent this year. That’s the thing that upsets me, I hope that [the knee] didn’t cause that.

– Counsell has been dealing with an injury similar to Looper’s since Spring Training, when he briefly considered surgery that would have sidelined him for several weeks. Instead, he opted to play through it and enjoyed his best season in years, batting .285 — a career high for a full season — with a .766 OPS — his best mark since 2000.  

In recent days, Counsell had said he would not have surgery. On Monday, he changed his mind, and will also have his surgery scheduled for next week. 

– In another medical matter, Ash said that outfielder Corey Hart had visited Monday with Dr. Don Sheridan, a Phoenix-based hand specialist who confirmed the diagnosis of Hart’s right hand injury. Hart has a pair of sprained fingers but no fractures and will require only rehabilitation.


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Brewers push McGehee for rookie honor

The Brewers’ PR department is making a case for Casey McGehee as the National League Rookie of the Year, touting him today in a press release that was sent to local and national media. The award is settled by a a vote of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

McGehee leads all Major League rookies with 64 RBIs but he’s not the only good candidate. Pitchers J.A. Happ of the Phillies, Tommy Hanson of the Braves and Randy Wells of the Cubs have been solid, and among hitters McGehee’s competition includes Chris Coghlan of the Marlins, Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, Gerardo Parra of the D-backs and Colby Rasmus of the Cardinals.

Who gets your vote? I’ll include PDFs with the various rookie leaders, plus the case for McGehee set forth by the Brewers.

NL rookie hitters.pdf
NL rookie pitchers.pdf

Brewers press release:
Looks to Join Pat Listach and Ryan Braun as the Only Brewers to Win the Award

As the 2009 season comes to a conclusion this week, Brewers infielder Casey McGehee (pronounced McGee) continues to be one of the leading candidates for National League Rookie of the Year.  He is attempting to join shortstop Pat Listach (1992) and third baseman Ryan Braun (2007) as the only Brewers to win the award.

Entering Tuesday’s contest, McGehee was batting .304 with 15 HR and 64 RBI in 111 games.  He has made 80 starts, including 57 starts at third base, 20 at second base and three as the designated hitter.  He made just one start through the Brewers’ first 38 games of the season but was thrust into action after an injury to second baseman Rickie Weeks.

McGehee ranks among the National League rookie leaders in nearly every offensive category this season, including slugging percentage (2nd, .503), batting average (3rd, .304) and home runs (3rd, 15).  He leads all Major League rookies with 64 RBI, including 25 over his last 26 games.  One of the top clutch players on the team, McGehee is batting .393 (33-for-84) with runners in scoring position this season.

McGehee has saved his best for the final month of the season as he is batting .337 (28-for-83) with 4 HR and 24 RBI in the month of September.  His RBI total this month trails only All-Star and MVP candidate Ryan Howard (26 RBI). 

McGehee, 26, batted .339 (21-for-62) with 6 HR and 16 RBI in 27 games in spring training to make his first career Opening Day roster.  He was claimed off waivers by the Brewers from the Cubs on October 29, 2008.  He made his Major League debut with Chicago last season, appearing in nine games.