We should not be concerned with Astros catcher Brian McCann’s lack of hitting in March.
When you are Max Stassi and Tim Federowicz, spring training at-bats matter. They are both battling for the Astros third catcher spot for the 2018 season. If you are Garrett Stubbs and Chuckie Robinson, you are trying to get noticed down the road. But if you are Brian McCann, spring training stats don’t matter…yet.
When you are a 34-year-old bearded veteran of 13 years, coaches don’t overact to struggle. In fact, A.J. Hinch has taken it easy with McCann because he caught almost every inning of the playoffs last year. Those extra innings can wear on a catcher’s body.
After yesterday’s game, one of our writers asked if we should be worried about McCann? I knew he wasn’t hitting well, but I was not aware that he was hitless this spring. That has to be a rare event not to get a hit all spring, but not anything to be too concerned about. After all, he’s only had 18 at-bats.
During the regular season, we should know what to expect from McCann. He is a .240 ish hitter who will hit between 15-20 homers and call a good game behind the plate. It is relatively unusual for the career .261 hitter in spring training to be hitless. I asked Jeremy Booth to give me an epic quote about why we shouldn’t worry about McCann. Here was his response.
"”Spring training is spring training!” – Jeremy Booth."
It’s just spring training.
Just like you can’t get too excited about a young prospect’s impressive stats. Players are just trying to get their bodies ready for a 162-game season. What I would be concerned about is McCann’s drop in offense last season. He batted .255 in the first half but dropped down to .219 in the second half. McCann also batted .175 in the playoffs.
The good thing about this team is they don’t need to rely on McCann’s offense. With a deep lineup, a .240 ish batting average would be decent. The Yankees are still paying $5.5 million of McCann’s salary, while the Astros will pick up the rest of the $11.5 million. McCann has a vesting $15 million option for 2019 should he reach specific criteria.
If McCann doesn’t hit for an extended time this season, the Astros may move on. However, he is a big part of the leadership of the pitching staff. Evan Gattis and Stassi will get some starts as the Astros plan to rest him more often. He does have a knack for getting the big hits when needed. McCann should start playing more and will get more comfortable at the plate. No worries.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***