Remember the days when Brian McCann was a lock to be a Top 3 catcher for fantasy owners? It seems like years ago, though it was just 2011 when he hit .270 with 24 HR. However a poor, injury plagued 2012 has left him as “just another catcher” as we head not 2013.
Is that fair? Let’s take a look at what went wrong in 2012 to help decide if he should hold value and remain a viable starting option.
McCann had a career low in AB in 2012, with just 439 (we won’t count his rookie year of 2005 when he appeared in just 59 games). While you would then expect lower then normal counting stats, they actually weren’t too far off.
He hit 20 HR, the fifth straight year he as done that (and sixth time in the past seven)
He also drove in 67 runs, not too far off from his prior two years (77 and 71)
He scored 44 runs, which is poor even for a catcher. This is the first “real” problem, considering he has never scored more than 68 runs in a season.
While we may want to point to an improved lineup around him, the problem is that the additions of B.J. And Justin Upton, as well as the development of Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward, has simply pushed McCann out of the middle of the order. Hitting sixth or seventh, do we really expect him to start scoring more runs?
It’s not that we expect our catchers to score 100 R, but we would at least like to believe that they could reach 65-70. That’s even a stretch at this point.
The other real problem was his .230 average. A career .279 hitter, McCann posted a 19.0% line drive rate (career of 19.8%), 41.2% fly ball rate (career of 42.5%) and 13.3% HR/FB (career of 12.4%). Yet, with all the peripherals right around his career marks, he posted a .234 BABIP. It was complete poor luck, and something we have to think should improve.
Before we reach a conclusion, we need to circle back to the RBI for a second. Is 65-75 enough for a starting catcher at this point? In 2013 there were nine catchers who had at least 70 RBI. While McCann should have ample opportunities, given his recent track record he clearly no longer gives you an edge.
While he should remain a solid option, especially since we should anticipate him dropping in drafts, he certainly isn’t an elite option. With the lack of runs scored, he really is more like any other catcher, maybe with a little better average but without the HR/RBI potential.
Just value him like that on draft day and not like the player we remember from yester year.
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