Brian McCann

Brian McCann is a problem to predict. Most catching prospects are, except the catch-and-throw types who aren’t really “prospects” for anything but backup roles. So many catching prospects fail, or disappoint, that talking about their upside seems kind of pointless. McCann could be a superstar, a Hall of Fame talent, a lefthanded Mike Piazza. But he almost certainly won’t be. The odds are that either his bat will stagnate and he’ll fall into the ranks of the ordinary good players, or that his defense will become problematical (or be seen as such) that he’ll be moved to another position.

Anyway, McCann has real power and his walk rate has improved as he’s moved up the system. As a hitter, his chances are probably going to depend upon how well he can make contact. Baseball Prospectus’ comparision system doesn’t work with McCann, coming up with an odd mix of a handful of late-sixties catchers and young hitters of the modern era, none of whom is really close. One player I’ve seen McCann compared to is Carlos Delgado. Sounds pretty good! McCann’s younger than Delgado was when he got his first real playing time in the majors, and three years younger than Delgado was when he finally stuck. And Delgado, of course, was moved off of catcher.

Defensively, he’s allegedly pretty problematic, but I’d like to see for myself. These good-hitting catchers generally get bad-glove reputations if they’re not absolutely stellar defenders. (Piazza, for example, doesn’t throw well but does the rest of the defensive job very well indeed, and never gets any credit for it. Javy Lopez was a pretty good defensive catcher, at least before he hurt his knee.)

McCann’s just a temp. He’ll be sent down when Estrada recovers, likely to AAA rather than AA since the R-Braves don’t have a real catcher with Pena up. My guess is that this is a really early preview and that McCann’s major league career won’t begin in earnest until sometime in 2007.

Brian McCann Career Statistics

15 thoughts on “Brian McCann”

  1. The player I think of when I see what McCann has done so far is another late-’60s catcher — Bill Freehan.

    Batting averages around .260, with 50 walks and 20 HRs per year would be just fine, as long as he can handle catching duties. Freehan posted these numbers in a different era, of course, and was already a major league regular at 21.

  2. .260 with 50 walks and 20 HRs per year in the late 1960s is a whole lot different than those same numbers now.

    By the way, someone may have covered this already, but Bobby Cox said on his pregame show Wednesday that McCann will start tonight.

  3. To me, he sounds alot like a Piazza type of player with a little less power. I would take that, though I am not sure that the pena / estrada combo is not almost perfect for us.

    McCann would probably bring us a good bit in trade, an we still have other prospects in the system that rank fairly well. I bet Houston would take Laroche,McCann and a lower level pitching prospect for Lidge and Jason Lane.

  4. If McCann can hit with only a little less power than Piazza and we traded him, I don’t think I could be a Braves fan again. Piazza is the BEST hitting catcher EVER!!!!!!! McCann has to be a defensive upgrade form Pena, who has the arm of the killer form “The Fugative.”
    If he hits like Piazza and throws runners out like Piazza, who cares? Greg Maddux once said, “Who cares if the steal second, as long as you get the batter out at the plate.”

  5. Seriously, McCann might be more valuable to an AL team, where he could team with a righty catcher, DHing most of the time but catching against tougher righthanded pitchers. You could try that with catcher and first base, I guess, but few NL teams are willing to try such a thing, especially after last season’s Piazza disaster.

    Anyway, you’d feel pretty silly for trading him if the did grow up to be Carlos Delgado. Is it my imagination, or are catcher prospects not traded as often as at other positions? Maybe it’s just my perspective since the Braves haven’t had a catching prospect since 1995.

  6. I think you’re right Mac, catching prospects aren’t traded as frequently. I think it’s primarily because it’s so hard to find a good catcher for the major league level, and so many don’t pan out through the minors. That being said, it does seem to be a position with some depth currently in the Brave’s system, and may be a good way of strengthing the big league club via a trade including a catching prospect.

  7. McCann may be a good example of why younger ones don’t get traded that often. If you have one that looks good, you have to be terrified the trade will backfire in a big way. If you think you might be able trade for one that looks good, you have to fear the stagnation thing that seems to aflict so many of them.

  8. Daric Barton and Justin Huber come to mind, but neither are necessarily going to catch in the big leagues.

  9. Ausmus may be more of a reflection of what Biggio and Bagwell value than the organization as a whole. It’s hard not to think those two guys have been in charge over there for a while now.

  10. I’m pretty certain that Barton won’t, at least; Huber might have, but that seems out as well with his injury. Both players (and Dioner “Pump & Dump” Navarro as well) came from very shallow, but wealthy, organizations. In those trades, if the teams wanted to make a deal involving major talent they almost had to be involved because there wasn’t anybody else left to trade.

  11. The most recent “crop” of catching prospects that come to mind were the four from 2004 BPro Top 50: Dioner Navarro, Jeff Mathis, Joe Mauer, and Guillermo Quiroz. Of those, Mauer looks great except he’s always hurt and might have to switch positions, Mathis had a terrible season last year (but is playing pretty well so far this year in AAA),and Navarro/Quiroz has muddled around in AAA and the majors. Barton was never really a catching prospect, because by the time he started showing up on prospect lists, it was pretty clear he’d have to move off the position. Huber was similar.

    I don’t know what to make of that, but I hope McCann’s career path takes a better turn than Mathis, Navarro, and Quiroz’s did at this point.

  12. Mac,

    where is my nicknames post? Did you remove because of the cursing?


    You guys make me laugh…Mac and I talk on the phone several times a week and we are very good friends, actually. I am also generally a happy person with a wife and a good job!

    The rants are just part of the fun on here for me. It’s also better then paying a shrink $100 bucks to talk about my feelings on a leather couch as to why Andruw Jones is ruining my life as a Braves die hard fan; instead, I can vent to all my so-called anonymous “friends” in here and have some fun.

    I know you all think I am a little nuts ;-) But I suppose I can live with that if I get my points across: Clutch Smiley, Kolbb, Colon-Cancer et all–need to go–NOW.

    And yes, until I see him wear another team’s uniform in vein the way he wears a Braves uni, I will curse and spew at Andruw jones faily. The most overrated and underperforming “star” player of all time. :-) I :-) Hate :-) Him :-)

  13. The Youth Movement continues- I’ve wanted it for years, we’ll see if I regret that sentiment like I did the He-Man Castle of Greyskull I got for Christmas when I was 6th over the objections of my mother…

  14. FWIW, at the beginning of the season, Baseball America rated McCann as the #44 prospect in all of baseball, regardless of position. If you take away Joe Mauer(who was #1 but is now the starting catcher for the Twins), McCann is the highest rated catcher.

    I also saw something, possibly also on Baseball America, that had McCann rated the best defensive catcher in the organization. I’ve also heard, as Mac said, that he’s got a questionable defensive rep. Probably says more about the subjectivity of limited observation than anything — I’d have told you that Pena looked good behind the plate before Wednesday. Ugh.

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