Brian McCann Player Projection No. 74

Key Stats: Brian McCann has been the steady force at the catcher position over the last six years. He has finished with at least 20 home runs every season except one (he hit 18), he is a career .286 hitter, and has a career .844 OPS. He’s also only going to be 28 this coming season. If you are going to go big early on catcher, it’s nice that there’s a consistent player in his prime available.

Skeptics Say: While other sites project McCann closer to the top 50, that may be a stretch. Since 2006, McCann has never finished in the top 100 in Yahoo’s player ranking formula. He’s been good, but not spectacular. He’s never finished with more than 24 home runs, never topped 100 RBI, and never topped 70 runs scored. Unlike many of the other top catchers he’s competed with for fantasy supremecy, McCann doesn’t find a way to crack the lineup when he isn’t catching. 

Peer Comparison: Every site has Carlos Santana ranked ahead of McCann and one (CBS) even has Alex Avila ranked ahead of him. I don’t have Santana or Avila ranked in front of McCann. I always find it to be a troubling decision when deciding between the high upside young player and a guy like McCann whom you know what you’re getting. There are scenarios that I could see taking either McCann or Santana first off the board at catcher. 

Matthew McMillen is sold that Santana’s average will come up to where it was in the minors, but after over 700 at-bats it’s tough to ignore Santana’s .244 average. If my team is hurting in the average category and making a selection at catcher, the decision is McCann of course. 

On the flip side, if the team that you have when it comes time to pick a catcher is full of proven players in the 26 to 30 year old age bracket, why not take a chance on Santana? The upside is 30 home runs – which is more than McCann can provide. 

Lineup Outlook: The Braves have two outfielders, a first baseman, and a second baseman that will likely be top 100 picks. The problem is that it is unlikely that they will have any top 50 picks. McCann’s runs and RBI will be a mystery until we see if Freddie Freeman can pick up where he left off and if Jason Heyward can finally live up to the hype. 

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #3 Catcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #3 Catcher & #58 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #2 Catcher & #42 Overall; RotoChamp: #51 Overall

Projection: I’m not a big believer in taking catchers early, but it will be interesting to see how much urgency owners have with Victor Martinez possibly done for all of 2012. McCann will likely be a little inflated and given that his line drive rate was down last year, don’t look for his average to come up too much versus last season.
70 R 24 HR 86 RBI .277 AVG .356 OBP .852 OPS in 540 plate appearances