Brian McCann
Brian McCann
34-Year-Old CatcherC
Atlanta Braves
2019 Fantasy Outlook
McCann has been an above-average offensive catcher throughout most of his career -- 2018 was not one of those seasons. His counting totals from last season look much like those from his rookie season in the majors back in 2005, but the core skills are in decline. An extreme pull hitter, McCann gets eaten up by the shift when he can't get the ball in the air, and his batting average fell 29 points this past year after living in the .230-.240 range in previous seasons. Not to mention the need to sit him against lefties. McCann's days as an everyday catcher are over, but he is still very serviceable behind the dish and appears primed to serve on the strong side of a catching platoon alongside Tyler Flowers after returning home to Atlanta on a one-year deal in the offseason. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Braves in November of 2018.
Returning to Atlanta
CAtlanta Braves
November 26, 2018
McCann signed a contract with the Braves on Monday, Mark Bowman of reports.
Specifics regarding the contract remain unclear, but McCann is headed back to where he spent the first nine years of his big-league career. The backstop battled injuries and hit just .212/.301/.339 across 63 games in 2018, though he owns a career .263/.338/.454 slash line through 14 seasons. He figures to operate on the strong side of a catching platoon with Tyler Flowers in 2019.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .681 266 30 9 27 0 .218 .323 .358
Since 2016vs Right .746 841 95 36 116 2 .241 .325 .421
2018vs Left .600 54 5 1 3 0 .200 .333 .267
2018vs Right .651 162 17 6 20 0 .215 .290 .361
2017vs Left .737 111 13 5 15 0 .227 .324 .412
2017vs Right .767 288 34 13 47 1 .246 .323 .444
2016vs Left .662 101 12 3 9 0 .218 .317 .345
2016vs Right .770 391 44 17 49 1 .249 .340 .430
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
Since 2016Home .687 549 60 21 65 0 .221 .315 .372
Since 2016Away .773 558 65 24 78 2 .251 .333 .440
2018Home .558 107 9 3 11 0 .191 .271 .287
2018Away .720 109 13 4 12 0 .232 .330 .389
2017Home .653 184 19 7 19 0 .211 .299 .354
2017Away .850 215 28 11 43 1 .266 .344 .505
2016Home .766 258 32 11 35 0 .240 .345 .421
2016Away .729 234 24 9 23 1 .245 .325 .404
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Stat Review
How does Brian McCann compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
For the first time since his rookie season in 2005, McCann logged fewer than 400 plate appearances, as he spent time on the DL with head and knee injuries and split time behind the plate with Evan Gattis when healthy. With that, McCann's streak of nine consecutive seasons with at least 20 homers was snapped. He was still a slightly above-league-average hitter (103 wRC+), as McCann walked at a strong 9.5 percent clip and boosted his contact rate back up close to 85 percent. The quality of the contact wasn't all that great -- McCann posted the lowest hard-hit rate of his career (29.4 percent) and his 41.5 percent flyball rate was a five-year low -- but even so, the advanced numbers suggest McCann deserved a better fate in terms of batting average (.237 BABIP, .254 xBA). While he's pretty much a strict platoon player, McCann still does enough offensively to remain highly relevant at what is a wasteland of a position.
It took until the final day of the season to do it, but with a home run in his last game of 2016, McCann extended an impressive streak: reaching the 20-homer plateau in nine consecutive seasons. Though his batting average was also up 10 points to .242, the 32-year-old struck out on a career-high 20.1 percent of his at-bats and posted a .748 OPS -- well down from his career average. Further, the second-half emergence of top prospect Gary Sanchez effectively pushed McCann into a full-time DH role and led the Yankees to send McCann to the Astros during the offseason, where he will work in tandem with Evan Gattis. Carlos Beltran will likely occupy the DH spot most days, leaving McCann to push for playing time at first base on days when Gattis is behind the plate, but it would hardly be a surprise to see McCann's playing time volume fall from the 520-plus plate appearances he's averaged over the past three seasons.
Though he put up an identical .232 average in both seasons, McCann's second year in the Bronx marked a step up from his 2014 campaign. He once again established himself as one of the best offensive catchers, setting career highs with 26 home runs and 94 RBI -- first and second respectively in those categories among backstops -- while also drawing more walks than he had in any season since 2011. His .320 OBP, while a full 30 points behind his average while in Atlanta, marked a significant improvement over the .286 OBP he managed in 2014. There is some concern of wear and tear, though, as McCann hit just .200 after the All-Star break, including a .174 average in the final month of the season, coinciding with a team-wide slump. While his days as a solid average hitter appear to be gone, due in large part to the extreme shifts deployed against him, McCann's power should still rank him among the better options behind the plate.
Jumping to the American League after eight seasons with the Braves, McCann saw his on-base percentage plummet to .286 in his first season in the Bronx, more than 60 points below his mark of .350 in the NL. His walk rate fell by close to four percent from 2013 (9.7% to 5.9%) and the increased deployment of defensive shifts hurt McCann significantly, as his BABIP fell to .231, more than 50 points below his career average (.283). Fortunately for fantasy owners, the power numbers were still there, as McCann hit 23 homers, second-most among catchers only behind Devin Mesoraco, with 75 RBI, his highest total since 2010. The seven-time All-Star also gained some experience at first base, logging his first 16 career appearances at the position, perhaps giving him duel eligiblity in some leagues. Even with just catcher eligibility, McCann is still plenty valuable, and while the shift may keep his average relatively low, he had a lot more success against lefties in 2014 (.292/.324/.526) and the power and RBI production should keep him among the top 10 fantasy contributors at the position.
Upon his return from offseason shoulder surgery in early May, McCann was blazing hot, with six home runs in his first 16 games. He had 12 homers by the All-Star break despite missing the first 30 games, but fizzled after the intermission, slashing just .220/.296/.384 over his final 177 at-bats. Still, McCann finished with 20 home runs, marking his sixth consecutive season reaching that number. McCann's 9.7 percent walk rate was in line with his career average (9.5 percent), but his strikeout rate jumped back up to 16.4 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2012. At this point, the baseball world knows who McCann is; a powerful, pull-hitting, veteran backstop with above-average on-base skills, and the Yankees shelled out $85 million to acquire his services in the offseason. It's a perfect fit for both the Yankees, who relied on the likes of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart last season, and McCann, as the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium should keep the power numbers coming. Further, he'll have the flexibility to work as a DH on days where the Yankees want to give him a respite from catching.
McCann was hitting just .229/.295/.386 in April and never improved as he finished the year with a .230 average and .698 OPS. Despite hitting 20 home runs, it was the worst season of his career. Much of his struggles may be due to playing through a torn labrum in his shoulder that required offseason surgery. McCann will miss two to four weeks of the regular season as he recovers. When healthy, McCann has good skills behind the plate and plenty of power, plus enough plate discipline to make his batting average an asset. He'll be just 29 next season and is only a few years removed from talk of him being perhaps the best catcher in the game, so he's capable of a strong bounceback season if healthy.
McCann was on the way to the best season of his career, hitting .306/.375/.514 with 18 home runs before going on the DL with an oblique injury on July 26. He hit just .180/.292/.346 with six home runs the rest of the season as the oblique injury remained a problem. McCann has good skills behind the plate and plenty of power, plus enough plate discipline to make his batting average an asset. There's plenty of reasons to think he'll improve last year's numbers as he had a low .287 BABIP, likely won't repeat his injury woes (he had played 138 games or more in each of the previous five seasons) and should be at his prime at age 28. He has the potential to be the best catcher in the game and may come a little cheaper than usual due to last year's second half struggles.
McCann seemed to have declined at the plate slightly last season with a career low in RBI and batting average, but his underlying stats show he remains perhaps the top hitting catcher in baseball. McCann put the vision problems that slowed him in 2009 behind him and hit 18 or more home runs for the sixth consecutive season with a .375 OBP. McCann has good skills behind the plate and plenty of power, plus enough plate discipline to believe his batting average will bounce back to his .289 career average. He's also durable for a catcher, playing over 138 games in each of the last five seasons. At age 27, he could easily take the mantle as the best catcher in baseball.
McCann may be the best hitting catcher in the NL despite taking a slight step back last season and missing time due to vision problems. He had blurred vision in his left eye in April that put him on the DL and caused him to miss 14 games while he learned to play with glasses. He quickly returned to form and hit 21 home runs with a .834 OPS after May 4. McCann has good skills behind the plate and plenty of power, plus enough plate discipline to maintain a high batting average. He's also durable for a catcher, playing over 138 games each of the last four seasons. He had Lasik eye surgery for the second time in two years in October, which could finally cure his vision problems. At 26, McCann is a blue-chip asset at catcher and there's still room for improvement.
McCann is one of the best hitting catchers in baseball and the best may be to come as he'll be just 25 years old in 2009. McCann has good skills behind the plate and plenty of power, as he hit more than 20 home runs after a slight drop off in his rookie season. He's also stayed relatively healthy - no small feat for a catcher. McCann also demonstrated improved plate discipline last season (a career-high 57 walks), which bodes well for him to continue hitting around .300. Injuries are a risk with any catcher, but McCann may be baseball's best fantasy option behind the plate.
While McCann's sophomore season didn't live up to his rookie year, he's still one of the top-hitting catchers in baseball and just 24-years old. McCann struggled a bit with knee and ankle injuries, which may have limited him at the plate. McCann has good skills behind the plate and good power, so a return to 20 or more home runs seems likely. He may not hit .330 again, as he never hit over .300 at any minor league level and while he draws walks, he doesn't have outstanding plate discipline. Still, he and Russell Martin are clearly the NL's best catchers.
McCann is Atlanta's starter behind the plate and quickly becoming one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. If not for a three-week stint on the DL due to a sprained ankle, he would have finished third in the N.L. batting race (he fell 30 plate appearences short). McCann has good skills behind the plate and power at bat. The surprise last year was his high batting average, which was the highest of his career at any level. At just 23, McCann's upside may not tapped.
McCann enters the 2006 season as the everyday starter at catcher after rising quickly through the Atlanta system last season. McCann hit .265/.359/.476 with six homers in 48 games for Double-A and then was called up to the majors after Johnny Estrada was hurt. He quickly established himself as a power threat and drew praise for his work behind the plate, even being used as John Smoltz's personal catcher. We'd like to see McCann walk a bit more, but he posted strong power numbers in the minors and could quickly become one of the best hitting catchers in the NL.
McCann is Atlanta's top catching prospect and put up a big year at high Single-A Myrtle Beach by hitting .277/.337/.487 with 15 HR. A solid year at Double-A in 2005 could put him in the mix for a major league job in 2006.
More Fantasy News
Has 2019 club option declined
CFree Agent
October 31, 2018
The Astros declined McCann's $15 million club option for 2019 on Wednesday.
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Swats homer Monday
CHouston Astros
September 25, 2018
McCann went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Monday's 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.
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Not getting starter's at-bats
CHouston Astros
September 16, 2018
McCann is on the bench Sunday against the Diamondbacks.
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Not in Friday's lineup
CHouston Astros
September 14, 2018
McCann is out of the lineup for Friday's game against the Diamondbacks.
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Takes seat Wednesday
CHouston Astros
September 12, 2018
McCann is not in the lineup against Detroit on Wednesday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
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