A’s Ink McPherson To Minor League Deal

The Oakland Athletics added a former top prospect via minor league free agency, signing Dallas McPherson to compete for the club’s third base job.

Earlier this decade, McPherson was the pride of the Angels’ farm system. A 6-4, 230 pound lefty batter with mammoth power, Dallas has destroyed minor league pitching for a career .296/.384/.586 line. In more than 1,100 PA at the AAA level, McPherson owns a .280/.360/.635 triple-slash.

Unfortunately, injuries have taken a serious toll on his career. McPherson was sidelined following hip surgery in 2005 and missed considerable time in 2006 with a herniated disc in his back.

Those were only the beginning of his problems, however. McPherson underwent back surgery in 2007, wiping away his entire season.

As a member of the Marlins organization in 2008, McPherson terrorized the Pacific Coast League. He compiled an eye-popping .275/.379/.618 line in 530 PA with Albuquerque. Dallas drew more walks than usual (14.5 BB%), while still whiffing at an alarming rate (37.5 K%).

However, Albuquerque is a hitter’s haven, and McPherson’s major league equivalent line was much less shiny. Per Minor League Splits, McPherson’s work at AAA in ’08 equated to a .201/.288/.410 MLB triple-slash .

Dallas inked a minor league deal with the Giants last off-season, but his chronic back issues sabotaged his season yet again. McPherson missed the entire 2009 campaign, going under the knife in July.

Now 29, McPherson still possesses scores of power. But he has been healthy just once in the past five years. In 399 career major league PA between the Angels and Marlins, McPherson holds a .245/.298/.458 line.

He has shown plenty of pop (.213 ISO), but little control of the zone (6.8 BB%, 34 K%). McPherson’s contact rate at the highest level is just 63.9%, compared to the 80-81% MLB average. L.A.’s second round pick in the 2001 draft has scorched fastballs (+1.12 runs/100 pitches), while flailing at anything that dips or darts as it reaches home plate (-1.0 vs. sliders, -1.07 vs. curveballs, -2.85 vs. changeups).

McPherson is worth keeping an eye on, as he could be a placeholder at the hot corner until Brett Wallace is ready (assuming Wallace can cut it at third, that is). However, it’s worth asking if McPherson can play a capable third these days, given all of his physical woes.

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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

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If McPherson can build upon last season’s spike in BB%, the A’s have Branyan lite. If not, Beane has cornered the market on guys named Dallas.

The Rangers are envious either way.