New York Yankees Editorial: The Bronx is Boiling – McCann is alright!


Pretty interesting week for the New York Yankees. Alex Rodriguez made headlines, and it was all positive. The fallen superstar got his 3,000 hit on a home run off of Justin Verlander. I for one was happy to see New York Yankees fans stand and cheer for A-Rod. The guy is having a good season in the heart of the lineup, and seems to be a new man. Glad that what could have been an angry mob of boo birds paid the guy some respect.

Speaking of the heart of the lineup, there is someone else who is playing very well this year. Last season, people blew their lid that he was a waste of money and a bad signing. I defended him from the day of the signing all the way through October, and even lost a few followers on Twitter for doing so. Now that he is doing well, nobody wants to commend him. The Bronx is boiling and I need to blow some steam.


Last season, Brian McCann signed a five-year deal for $17-million a year with an option for a sixth year. When Brian McCann signed that deal with the New York Yankees, he was (and is) one of the premier offensive catchers in baseball. For some reason, after 9 seasons of consistent play that led to seven All Star Game appearances in Atlanta, New York Yankees fans expected McCann to somehow develop super powers at the age of 30 and become a better ball player at the most grueling and debilitating position on the field. 

More from Yankees News

He started off slowly, there is no questioning that. It made it hard to defend him, but McCann simply needed to find his stroke. Was it a great season? No. Was it a $17-million season? In this day of baseball where Jason Heyward is expected to get a $20-million deal this offseason, it’s tough to say. But it was a season that was not much different than the rest of his career.

In the eight seasons McCann was the starter in Atlanta, he averaged 21.34 home runs a season. Last year in his Yankees debut he belted 23. McCann averaged 79.75 RBI over that same span, and last season he drove in 75 runs. Sure, his batting average was an abysmal .232, but his last two seasons prior to being in pinstripes, he batted .256 and .230. His contact rate was already in decline. While New York Yankees fans screamed bust, the numbers showed that they got exactly what they had paid for in their 30-year old catcher.

This season, McCann is looking good and is succeeding in the middle of the lineup. No one seems to care. No one wants to talk about how in June, McCann has 18 hits in 59 at bats. His June .305 batting average has raised his season average from .247 to a very respectable .275. No one wants to talk about how his 10 home runs are third amongst catchers and his 43 RBI are second for all Major League catchers.

The simple fact of the matter is that the New York Yankees, a team widely regarded to battle for last place in the division at the onset of the season, is one game out of first place. A very large part of that is that A-Rod, Mark Teixeira and McCann are proving to be a pretty punishing 3-4-5 combination in the lineup. The hotter McCann gets, the less opponents can pitch around a healthy Teixeira. The hotter Teixeira stays, the less balls A-Rod will see. That all starts with protection in the lineup, and McCann is providing that.

McCann has been consistent behind the plate to say the least. He has committed two errors in 446 chances (.996 fielding percentage). He has also thrown out nine of 20 base runners. 45 percent is a percentage I can live with from a backstop.

Is McCann perfect behind the plate? Nowhere close, but that was never his claim to fame. He does take a hit in the range factor (8.07) because there have been 30 wild pitches with him behind the plate this season, but only one has been a passed ball, so you can make the argument they were beyond his control. You can also make the argument that the starting rotation sits in the middle of the pack in both wins and ERA, but I don’t think McCann was brought to Yankees Stadium for his game calling abilities. McCann was brought here to be an offensive threat and an veteran presence behind the plate and thus far in 2015, he is proving to be just that.

The New York Yankees made due with Jorge Posada behind home plate for over a decade. Posada was never known for his defense and put up similar numbers to McCann. The difference is that Posada was a homegrown talent that won five championships in one of the greatest eras of New York Yankees baseball. That’s a lot to put on McCann’s shoulders. When you take those extra expectations away, you realize that McCann is doing just fine.

More from Yanks Go Yard