Brian McCann Statistics –

Pretty impressive. Brian wasn’t quite as good as he was in 2006, but that’s largely a function of a few singles that didn’t drop in this time. His walk rate was slightly higher and his isolated power only a little bit lower (fewer homers but more doubles, seventh in the league) and he’s established that this is his true level, and that 2007 was an injury year. He’s the best catcher in the league, and the question of the best catcher in baseball is between him and Mauer.

The most worrisome thing is workload. Brian caught in 138 games last year (also playing in seven other games where he just pinch-hit). Six of those games were in “relief”, pinch-hitting for Corky Miller or Clint Sammons and staying in the game. Those names give the clue as to why Brian played so much; the reserves were so awful that the Braves were usually losing when they played, and if the game was close enough he’d eventually pinch-hit for them. The season wore on him; though his batting averages stayed constant, his power basically disappeared in the last two months of the season, when he hit just three homers in August and none in September or October. Competent reserve play is a must.

McCann is painfully slow, of course, but is one of the smartest baserunners on the team. In addition to his triple last year, he was 5-5 on stolen base attempts… Gets a lot of grief for his fielding that is probably not deserved. He’s not a great fielder, but he’s not a disaster, either, and while his throwing hasn’t been great, it’s not any worse than most catchers these days. He should do better, though.

Career extra base hits for a catcher through age 24:

1 Johnny Bench 308
2 Ivan Rodriguez 237
3 Ted Simmons 225
4 Joe Torre 196
5 Brian McCann 192
6 Fred Carroll 189
7 Gary Carter 165
8 Frankie Hayes 161
9 Butch Wynegar 148
10 Earl Williams 147