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Friday, January 15, 2010

Catchers: Braves Best In NL, Among The Best In the Biz

(Since started on Around The Horn on Friday, I figure that it would be a good idea for me to delve into it as well.)

Brian McCann - (551 PA, .281/.349/.486, 35 2B, 21 HR, 94 RBI, 120 OPS+)
David Ross - (151 PA, .273/.380/.508, 9 2B, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 134 OPS+)
Clint Sammons - (12 PA, .182/.250/.182, 0 2B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 18 OPS+)

In just a few short years, the Braves have developed into one of the best offensive catching teams in all of baseball. Brian McCann, once one of the Baby Braves that helped Atlanta to their final NL East title to date, has developed into the premier offensive catcher in the National League. Last season, despite his vision problems, he led all National League catchers in OPS (.834), doubles (35), home runs (21), RBI (94), and total bases (237). McCann missed time in late April and early May to fix complications from his LASIK eye surgery. When returning to play, McCann had to wear eyeglasses the rest of the season.

His backup, David Ross, raked in his short playing time. While filling in for McCann while the starting catcher was having eye problems, Ross batted a robust .298/.411/.574 in 57 PAs. He provided a good fill-in bat for McCann the rest of the season, even hitting two solo home runs in a game where the Orioles blew out the Braves by an 11-2 score.

Ross has an excellent percentage when it comes to catching baserunners (48%, 19/40). However, the reason for that may be because he calls for a fastball when he suspects a runner is going to steal. This sometimes led to the batter having an easy pitch to hit. That may be the only thing that anyone can criticize Ross.

Clint Sammons simply provides a little depth at the catcher position. If he's starting for any extended period of time, the Braves are in a lot of trouble.

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