Thursday, May 8, 2008

By Kevin Mark - Minor League Contributor

One of the best players in the history of the Salt Lake Bees franchise returned to Franklin Covey Field Tuesday night. 2004 minor league player of the year Dallas McPherson is now in the Florida Marlins organization, playing 3B for the Albuquerque Isotopes. Since AAA returned to Salt Lake in 1994, McPherson is the most complete hitter that has played for the club. He played half a season for the Stingers in 2004 and he put up monster numbers. Critics of McPherson point to his high strikeout rate, but there is no arguing about his ability to crush a baseball. 20 homeruns, .313 average and an OPS of 1.049 in 2004 were impressive numbers but you had to see McPherson play to truly appreciate his ability. He had tremendous bat speed and hit with power to all fields. He was an above average third baseman and an excellent base runner. McPherson was called up to the Angels at the end of the 2004 season. At the time, there was no doubt he was ticketed for a great Major League career with the Angels. Unfortunately, since 2004 injuries have derailed his Major League career.

Since the end of the 2004 season McPherson has had three major surgeries, one on his hip and two on his back. He missed the entire 2007 season recovering from the latest back surgery. All of the reports on McPherson indicated the surgery corrected his back problems and he would be ready to go at the beginning of the 2008 spring training. Despite the positive outlook on McPherson's health, the Angels released him. McPherson signed a free agent contract with the Marlins and is currently putting up very good numbers for their AAA team.

After watching McPherson play this week against the Bees I am convinced he is healthy and ready to be a productive Major League hitter. In the two games against the Bees, DMac is 4-8 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. He has made two outstanding plays at 3B and is running the bases without any noticeable problems. For the year McPherson is hitting .302 with 10 homeruns. He is always going to be a high strikeout hitter and so far this season he has K'd 41 times. But he has also walked 19 times and his OBP is a sparkling .414. He has an OPS of 1.049 and is hitting the ball with authority almost every time up.

McPherson has reached the limit of what he can accomplish and prove in the minor leagues. It is time for him to get an opportunity to play every day in the Major Leagues but I don’t see it happening with the Marlins. Jorge Cantu and Mike Jacobs have the corner infield positions locked up. But there are other teams that could use a power hitting corner infielder and, if the Marlins aren't going to give McPherson a chance, I hope they will trade him to a club that will. Dallas McPherson is now ready to fulfill the promise of being a solid Major League power hitter. Hopefully the opportunity comes this season.

Love to hear what you think!


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