Browsing Posts tagged Brian McCann

Masahiro Tanaka will make his major league debut Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. He’ll look to guide his team after a disappointing road trip to start the season. The New York Yankees (1-2) dropped two of three in Houston against the Astros while the Blue Jays split four games in Tampa Bay against the Rays. The Yankees have high hopes for their $175 million man and a strong start on Friday night will be a great start. Tanaka was flat out dominant last season in Japan, posting a 24-0 record with a sparkling 1.27 ERA. Tanaka was the center piece of the off-season, but his contract didn’t stop the Yankees from improving their offense. The Yankees committed $85 million to catcher Brian McCann and over $150 million for center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankee offense as a whole struggled in Houston, but hopefully a stop in Toronto’s hitter friendly park will help.

Tanaka will face off against RHP Dustin McGowan. Due to various injuries, McGowan will be making his first start since September 2011. McGowan missed the entire 2012 season due to foot injuries and exclusively pitched out the bullpen last season. McGowan’s strong spring earned him a rotation spot over LHP JA Happ. 

The Yankees went 13-5 against the Blue Jays last season, but went just 4-5 at the Rogre Centre. 

Pick: Current MLB Odds have the Yankees listed as a modest road favorite (-128). I’m fully expecting Tanaka to come out ready to pitch and start his MLB career on a high note. The Yankee offense is ready to get on the map and I’m fully expecting them to take advantage of McGowan.

Pick: New York Yankees -128

On Saturday, the Yankees and free agent catcher, Brian McCann agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract. The 6’3″, 230 pound, 29-year-old, lefty swinging McCann spent his first eight seasons with the Atlanta Braves. As Atlanta’s full-time catcher, McCann hit at least 20 home runs in seven of his eight seasons. McCann, a career .279 hitter, also made the NL All-Star team seven times.  McCann will earn an average of $17 million per season, which will make him baseball’s highest paid catcher.

The upgrade from Chris Stewart to Brian McCann is the biggest positional improvement the Yankees could make. During 2013, McCann dealt with a shoulder injury, but posted a .795 OPS, which would have ranked third among American League catchers behind only Joe Mauer and Carlos Santana. Lefty power hitters are always welcome in Yankee Stadium and the short porch in right field will definitely boost McCann’s power numbers.  McCann does not have drastic splits, but he hits righties better (.285/.362/.495) than lefties (.259/.320/.424). Those split should help the Yankees spell McCann with Francisco Cervelli, who hits lefties. Don’t forget about the DH-slot, either where McCann can take a half-day off and mash against righties. 

Defensively, Fangraphs ranks McCann as an above average catcher. According to FG, over the last three seasons, McCann’s superior pitch framing ability alone has saved 65 runs. Over the last ten years, Atlanta has had a revolving door of good, young arms and Atlanta always ranks towards the top of ERA leaders. McCann’s ability to handle a young pitching staff cannot be understated. The Yankees don’t have a surplus of young arms, but McCann’s track record suggests he’ll be able to quickly learn the Yankee staff.

McCann is regarded as an emotional, gritty player and that’s exactly what the Yankees need. McCann has gotten into his share of altercations with opposing players, but that’s what teams want out our their catchers. McCann is a tough guy and will not let other teams showboat or showoff. 

This off-season’s free agent catcher class was headlined by McCann, Carlos Ruiz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Phillies quickly retained Ruiz and the Yankees had a glaring need for an upgrade behind the plate. While the price tag may seem steep, Fangraphs projects McCann as a 4.5 to 5.0 win player during 2014. $6 million per win is the baseline in player valuation and if McCann can exceed a WAR of 3.0, he’ll pay off his salary. Make no mistake about it–Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, and co. did an excellent job behind the plate last season, but McCann will hopefully remind Yankee fans of the glory days of Jorge Posada

R.A. Dickey pitched 8 brilliant innings, and the Mets scored early and often to bury the Braves Sunday night.  They are now 28-31 on the year.

For the second straight start, R.A. Dickey pitched a great game.  The only run he allowed was Brian McCann’s leadoff 7th inning solo shot, and by that point the Mets had already built up a 6-0 lead.  They scored all 6 runs in the first 5 innings and were able to jump on Braves starter Tim Hudson early — after 2 innings, it was already 4-0.  Carlos Beltran, who drove in Jose Reyes for the first Mets run, fouled a ball off his right shin in the 2nd inning.  He had to leave the game, but x-rays eventually came back negative.

Taking note, Fred? (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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