Yesterday I wrote about how Yovani Gallardo’s season had slipped through the cracks. Tonight is Brian McCann’s time for shine; apologies in advance to Braves’ fans if Brian McCann decides to pitch tonight and gives up eight runs.
McCann has the unfortunate coincidence of playing (and catching) during the same period as Joe Mauer. Nevertheless, McCann is a single home run shy of his third consecutive 20-plus home run season. His consistency goes beyond that streak, though, as his home run totals since becoming a permanent fixture in the starting lineup are as follows: 24, 18, 23, 21, and of course 19. Even better, McCann’s walk rates have been mostly static over that period: 8.3%, 6.3%, 9.9%, 8.9%, and now 13.4%.His ISO is consistent, too: .240, .183, .222, .205, and .203.
I do not know the standard deviation for the average player on a year-to-year basis in those statistics, but my perception is that McCann is probably more consistent than a decent number of individuals. My perception of how impressive this would be is enhanced by him catching, where nicks and bruises are a byproduct of such a tedious lifestyle choice.
Whether McCann really is in the top 10% (or whatever percentage one desires to place him within) for “consistency” or not is irrelevant. He just doesn’t have a huge blow-up season like Mauer, and I wonder if that hurts him when it comes to being recognized as the second best catcher in baseball. It’s the Albert Pujols’ syndrome. He’s so good annually that sometimes we take the performances for granted.
McCann’s season is a perfect example. He has 4.9 WAR right now, last season he had 4.2, and his previous career high is 5.7. He will not reach six wins, but he is almost certain to top five for the third time in his career. He somehow has a higher wOBA than players like Evan Longoria, David Ortiz, Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward, and so on … and he’s a catcher. That fact really cannot be ignored. Yet we’ve only had three posts on him since January and none talked up his performance. And, really, if he hasn’t been covered by this staff, then he’s definitely flying under some radars.