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40-players-in-40-days-brian-mccann | November | 2009 Articles

2009 Archives

40 Players in 40 Days: Brian McCann

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="By Keith Allison"][/caption]

Let me just lead with a little side note, that the first round of GM meetings takes place this week in Chicago. Keep it here for the latest rumors and rumblings from those meetings. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

It would seem strange that I have so little to say about Brian McCann, since there's an argument to be made that he's the Braves' most valuable long-term property (perhaps a debate for the comments?). But in a way, I think that's part of McCann's value: he's just a guy you don't have to worry about. He's young, he's consistent, and courtesy of a sensible long-term deal, he'll wear a Braves uniform through at least 2013. There's just nothing to worry about here. His 2009 numbers were down from his banner 2008, but he was still the best offensive catcher this side of Joe Mauer, hitting .281/.349/.486 for the year. It would be natural to try to make an excuse for him given his eye troubles, but those only affected him for the first few weeks of the season, and his down production during April wasn't bad enough to significantly impact his season totals. I think what we saw in 2009 is about what we can expect from Brian going forward: an .850-ish OPS and his good ol' sheepish leadership.

The only change I'd like to see in 2010 for McCann is a reduction in his playing time. Mac started a remarkable 115 games after returning to the lineup on May 8, and what's the point of having such a capable backup as David Ross if you never put him on the field? Keeping McCann fresh for the end of the season, and healthy for many seasons to come, is imperative for the long-term health of the franchise, and just a day of rest here and there can go a long way toward making those things happen. Ross is talented enough to play every fifth day, and hopefully Wren bolsters the lineup sufficiently this winter so that Bobby Cox doesn't have to worry about letting McCann sit once a week.

The bottom line: McCann is one of baseball's best catchers, and we can expect more of the same in 2010. More rest can only help, and hopefully he'll get that in 2010, but when he's in the lineup (most of the time), he's an All-Star lock and excellent middle-of-the-order hitter.

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