Weight: 210 lbs.
2010 Age: 26
The sky's the limit.
In just a few short seasons, Brian McCann has become the top catcher in the National League. He isn't quite in the discussion for best catcher in the majors yet. That distinction belongs to the Twins' Joe Mauer. McCann does belong in the discussion for second best, where his main competition is Boston's Victor Martinez.
The 2009 season nearly became a disaster for the young backstop. After dealing with blurriness in his left eye thanks to complications from his 2007 LASIK surgery, McCann went on the disabled list on April 25th. Trying contact lenses and visiting eye doctors didn't work, as his batting average dipped to .195 leading up to his DL stint.
After playing two games with Class A+ Myrtle Beach and one with Class AAA Gwinnett, McCann returned to action sporting the new lenses. At first, he wore a hockey-style mask with the new glasses, but eventually he switched to wearing a different pair of glasses when going back to his regular catcher's mask.
The glasses helped McCann return his production to his established levels, as he rebounded to finish the season with a .281/.349/.486 line. McCann led the Braves with 21 home runs and 94 RBIs and finished second on the team in slugging percentage. After the season, McCann underwent the LASIK procedure again to correct the problems in his left eye.
McCann was the Braves' cleanup hitter for 114 games last season. However, with Troy Glaus in the lineup, it's likely that McCann will be hitting fifth. Braves manager Bobby Cox, who is entering his final season of managing, prefers to break up consecutive lefty and righty batters.
ALREADY IN GOOD COMPANY: In baseball history, among catchers during their first five years of their career (450 games minimum), McCann is first in doubles (158), third in RBI (389), third in slugging percentage (.497), fourth in home runs (91), sixth in OPS (.853), and seventh in sacrifice flies (22).
THEY REALLY DO MAKE HIM LOOK SMARTER: Before having procedures to fix complications of his LASIK surgery, McCann had slumped to a .195/.333/.415 line in 51 plate appearances. After getting the surgery fixed, McCann returned to action, though he had to wear eyeglasses the rest of the season. He returned to his normal levels of hitting, with a .289/.350/.492 line in 500 plate appearances.
BIGGER (ALL-)STAR: McCann joined Joe Torre (1963-67) and Del Crandall (1953-56) as the third catcher in Braves history to be named to four straight NL All-Star teams. However, McCann has never been named as a starter. Torre was named the NL's starter four times and Crandall five times.
HE CAN RUN TOO!: McCann is tied for the Atlanta club lead with 12 stolen bases by a catcher, on equal footing with Bruce Benedict. In franchise history, McCann is in 13th place, 43 swiped bases behind Boston Braves catcher Hank Gowdy.
In this section, several projections of each Braves player's statistics will be displayed. The sources include:
- Famed baseball statistician Bill James' projections
- Sean Smith's CHONE Projection system
- Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projection system
- The Sporting News
- Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball
After each projection is listed, I'll pick which one I believe McCann will meet (or exceed) in the 2010 season.
Bill James - 576 PA, .291/.362/.511, 41 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 69 R, 100 RBI, 54 BB, 78 K
CHONE - 550 PA, .291/.358/.502, 37 2B, 1 3B, 22 HR, 62 R, 93 RBI, 47 BB, 74 K
PECOTA - 575 PA, .287/.363/.497, 31 2B, 1 3B, 25 HR, 66 R, 103 RBI, 56 BB, 77 K
Rotowire - 498 AB, .285/.350/.530, 27 HR, 69 R, 99 RBI, 50 BB, 75 K
TSN - 492 AB, .289/.357/.504, 22 HR, 63 R, 91 RBI, 51 BB, 69 K
Yahoo! - 516 AB, .291/.357/.504, 24 HR, 71 R, 88 RBI, 51 BB, 82 K
SAM'S PICK - CHONE. I don't see McCann slugging much more than .502, though he may do it given his talent. Sixty total extra base hits and below fifty walks make sense; McCann usually focuses on hitting and doesn't have to draw a walk. His career isoOBP (OBP minus AVG) is a respectable .063, which CHONE nearly mirrors in the 2010 projection (.067).
Icon SMI photo by Mitch Stringer
EDIT: Updated date and time, added Baseball-Reference.com link
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