The newly-acquired Houston Astros veteran catcher Brian McCann has not gotten up to his usual speed with the bat. Is this cause for worry by the team or the fans?
In November, McCann waived his no-trade clause with the New York Yankees to come to Houston Astros. So far, the team has not been reaping enough of the benefits.
It should be clear that I am still the biggest advocate of the trade. The combination of him and his catching mate and Parent Trap-like twin, Evan Gattis, is slated to be the best tandem in the league. I make this abundantly clear in an assessment of the two I did at the beginning of last month.
However, McCann is 0-for-9 so far in Spring Training. He has no walks, a strikeout and a ghastly OPS at .100 as of this writing. This coming as the result of 1 start as DH, and 3 behind the plate.
Defensively, on the other hand, he’s been exactly as advertised. 50% CS (caught stealing) ratio, 13 putouts per 15 total chances, and an assist credited to him already.
Even with that, some fantasy experts are ranking him behind El Oso Blanco. In most cases, both are still in the top 10. In others, McCann only makes it just over 15 as to catchers to draft from the fantasy side of things to the sport of baseball.
So what should the team and fans make of this? Do we all give BMac more time to blossom? OR, do we start to hit the panic button?
Not So Fast, Everyone!
Over his illustrious 12 year career thus far, McCann has a Spring Training slash line of .266/.320/.756. Those are actually significant for a catcher on any level.
Additionally, in his first five seasons with the Atlanta Braves, it took McCann nearly 4 at-bats before getting a hit. This is a give or take of around 1-2 AB’s.
As a matter of fact, only in 2014 and 2016 did he actually start out really hot in his first preseason games with the New York Yankees.
Sure, he has slumps like any other player in this league. But once BMac gets hot, BOY does he get hot!
Trouble With the Aging Curve?
Brian McCann just turned 33 a couple of weeks ago on February 20th. This would cause some folks alarm, as there have been plenty of catchers that do start to wear and tear after the age of 30.
Despite those fears, McCann has been able to overcome that age myth at every turn. He does have an ebb and flow injury history, but not to the point that it makes BMac an invalid.
In all honesty, he is the total package on both sides of the ball. Even coming close to some numbers that would rival Hall of Fame catcher, Mike Piazza of all players. Roger Schlueter of MLB.com can confirm this claim.
In Conclusion: Don’t Sweat on BMac!
Brian McCann is not the only player on the Houston Astros in a batting slump. In fact, my recent update on Astros Spring Training shows that many of the projected starting position players are in the exact same boat.
6 out of 12 position players slated to be on the 25 man roster come opening day are hitting for .250 or better. Meanwhile, the others are trying to find their groove, including McCann. After all, Spring Training doesn’t technically count, right?
Some of the minor league players are also hitting better than .250. Unfortunately, they are more than likely doomed to start the 2017 season down in the farm system, if not traded beforehand. (I’m looking in your general direction, Max Stassi!)
BMac is going to get there with that bat of his. It just may take more time than some of us more impatient fans will want to wait around for.
GO HOUSTON ASTROS!