Thursday, January 31, 2013

Worst Twins of All-Time Series: Dave McCarty

There are plenty of things that can go into making a player fit the mold of playing bad at the major league level. Being a high draft pick, signing a big free agent contract, or being part of a big trade can get hopes higher for a player than they ever should be.

So far in the Worst Twins of All-Time Series, there have been a variety of ways that the players featured have joined the organization. Butch Huskey was a free agent signing by the club to try and fill a hole at DH. Terry Felton was a second-round pick out of high school so there are expectations with that high of a pick. Scott Klingenbeck was traded to the Twins as part of the Scott Erickson deal. Matt Walbeck was given the starting catcher's job after being traded to the Twins.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways for a player to find futility as a member of the Twins.

One of the easiest ways to not reach high expectations is to be a highly drafted player. There are a lot of bumps along the way to the big leagues and not every high draft pick is going to make it big. The Twins teams of the 1990s had plenty of high draft picks that went bust on the road to "The Show."

This is only part of the story for the latest installment of the "Worst Twins of All-Time".... Dave McCarty
Things were flying high in the Twin Cities in 1991, as the team would be heading for their second championship in less than five years. It was a worst-to-first turnaround for the Twins. This meant that the 1990 club had done poor enough to give the Twins a high draft pick the following summer. The organization would look to the college ranks with the third pick in the draft and find a first baseman named Dave McCarty.

McCarty's college experience would help him to move quickly through the Twins minor league system. He would skip a couple of levels to start his minor league career and he made it all the way to Double-A. Over 43 games, he hit .304/.422/.486 with 13 extra-base hits. The team would start him back at Double-A in 1992 and he would make his Triple-A debut that year.

The 1993 season was one the best for McCarty in the minor leagues. His second stint in the Pacific Coast League was some of his best baseball. He batted .385/.477/.629 with eight home runs and 11 doubles in 40 games. The power wasn't exactly where the Twins would have liked it to be but it didn't seem to make much sense to keep him in the minor leagues.

Minnesota would call-up McCarty in the middle of May and he would stick with the club for the rest of the season. His hot hitting streak from the minor leagues followed him to the big league level. During his first 18 games, he hit .365/.390/.514 and that included a 13-game hitting streak. He also had eight multi-hit games so things were off to a fast start.

Things went in the tubes from there for McCarty. In his last 75 games of the season, McCarty would hit .178/.229/.233 with 61 SO and only 11 extra-base hits. It also didn't help that he was pretty awful on the defensive side of the ball. He had six errors in the corner outfield positions and three errors at first base. This all added up to a -2.9 WAR for the 1993 season.

Over the next couple of seasons, McCarty would spend more time at the Triple-A level than at the big leagues. The Twins were disappointed with his performance and he didn't really redeem himself during the 1994 and 1995 season. It was time for a change of scenery and McCarty was sent to the Giants for
left-handed pitcher John Courtright, an eighth round pick from the same draft as McCarty. He would never play higher than Double-A with the Twins.

For his career with the Twins, McCarty hit .226/.275/.310 with 34 extra-base hits over 575 plate appearances. His poor first season was tough to overcome and he finished with a -3.4 WAR during his Twins tenure. He was bad on the offensive side of ball and the defensive side of the ball wasn't much better.

McCarty would actually put together a professional career that stretched all the way to 2005. He would make stops in San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Oakland, and Boston. The Royals had him play over 200 games with their club in 2000-01 and these were his most productive years. He would be a World Series Champion in 2004 with the Red Sox and he even got to pitch in three games during that title run. As part of those appearances, he struck out Jayson Werth and Rafael Palmeiro.

The Red Sox wanted to send him to the minor leagues at the beginning of the 2005 season but he refused so the club was forced to release him. He would be hired as a Red Sox analyst for the NESN later that season. McCarty would stay in that position until the end of the 2008 season.

Minnesota had high hopes for McCarty when they drafted him with one of the highest picks in franchise history. He didn't live up to those expectations but he did put together a serviceable MLB career. He made close to $4 million and he got to play parts of 11 seasons at the big league level.


jjswol said...

You can find an interview I did with Dave at


NoDak Twins Fan said...

Thanks for the link!