As a Braves fan, I have been spoiled by watching Brian McCann play every day. McCann has been a fantastic player for the Atlanta Braves, but unfortunately this will probably be his last season donning an Atlanta uniform. I wanted to take a look back at the career Brian McCann put together in Atlanta.
As fans, we’re all conditioned to want the shiny new toy. We usually have unreal goals and expectations of prospects, that’s what makes us what we are. Earlier this season I couldn’t believe how many fans were ready to give up on McCann after Evan Gattis started the season off so well. Gattis was in a role that was tailored perfectly for him; occasional starting and pinch hitting versus predominantly fastball pitchers. He excelled and because of that success people were ready to trade Brian McCann.
Flash forward a few months; Brian McCann is doing Brian McCann things like posting a .290/.374/.534 line. He’s having one of his best offensive seasons in 2013. His wRC+ is at a career high of 150 and his wOBA is only surpassed by his fantastic 2009 campaign. He is reminding everyone just how good he can be; just in case 2012 made you forget. Shoulder surgeries are an untamable animal. No one is sure how a player will rebound from shoulder surgery, McCann’s power returned quicker than I ever imagined it would this season. I guess that means we should all thank the surgeon as well, because he obviously did a hell of job helping McCann get his strength back.
Brian McCann is one of 16 catchers in the expansion era to have an OPS+ greater than or equal 115 over the first nine years of his career. He comes in at 13th on the list, behind names such as: Mauer, Piazza, and Bench. As much as we usually trash the All-Star voting process and subsequent farce of a home field deciding game, Brian McCann has still been to 7 of them. He’s accumulated 5 Silver Sluggers to sit in his trophy case as well.
I hate when writers bring up how players “do things the right way.” I feel obligated to mention that with McCann though. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t remember one article or quote that made McCann seem like anything less than a standup guy and fantastic teammate. Sure, he was disappointed he didn’t get to start in the Wild Card game last season. Who wouldn’t be?
Brian McCann will probably leave the Braves after the 2013 season and I’ll be sad to see him go. Since McCann’s call up in 2005 he has been one of the most valuable commodities in baseball: a good offensive catcher. Every I got frustrated with Brian I would just remind myself we could be running Francisco Cervelli out there 90+ times per season. He left us with many great memories; including a few hilarious slides, gassed out triples, and a few F bombs. I can only hope he gets the respect from Braves fans that he deserves now and into the future.