James McCann Finds New Home in Queens
Veteran catcher, James McCann, finalized a contract with the New York Mets. The two sides were engaged in serious contract discussions for the better part of a week. For a moment, it seemed like it might all fall apart. But in the end, they agreed to a 4-year $40 million contract. McCann brings a unique skill set to the Mets, one they have not had consistently since 2015. Let’s get into what McCann brings behind the dish.
Analytics have been slow developing for catchers in measuring defense. They recently have been able to quantify a catcher’s framing and pitch receiving ability and McCann ranks near the top of the list. According to Baseball Savant, McCann was the 9th best pitch receiving catcher in the entire MLB last season. His teammate, Yasmani Grandal, was ranked fourth. He ranks ahead of players such as Yadier Molina and Wilson Contreras.
This is a considerable upgrade over primary starter the past two seasons, Wilson Ramos. Ramos ranks 41st according to Baseball Savant. McCann’s ability to turn borderline pitches into strikes will be extremely beneficial for his pitching staff. Jacob DeGrom does not need anymore help, but now with an elite framer behind the plate, look out.
Canon of an arm
Another area in which Mets catchers have been lacking is the ability to throw out base stealers. McCann solves that issue as he is one of the best throwing catchers in the game. “McCannon” has thrown out 36% of base stealers over the course oh his 7 year career. He has been way above league average every year of his career, which has been the hgh 20%’s each year of McCann’s career. He has never dipped below 31%, which was in 2019.
McCann has really improved on the offensive side of the ball in the past few seasons. The past two seasons, McCann has had an OBP of .328 and .360. His OBP jumped from .267 in 2018 to .328 in 2019, a season during which he made the American League All-Star team. He also raised his OPS+ from 57 in 2018 to 108 in 2019. He then raised it again in 2020 to 144. Take that number with a grain of salt as it was a shortened season and he split time with Yasmani Grandal behind the dish. His solid bat and elite glove, make McCann a huge upgrade over Ramos.
I am very happy with this signing. Sandy Alderson and Steve Cohen have said they were not going to spend like drunken sailors and passing on JT Realmuto shows that. James McCann has catapulted himself into one of the best catchers in the game and he will cost the Mets less probably about 1/3 of what Realmuto will get. When there are other holes that need to be filled, this was an excellent signing. Look for the Mets to continue to be the market setters this offseason as the focus now shifts from McCann to bigger fish. The focus is now on George Springer and Trevor Bauer. It will be a bit before those two are close to signing, but look for the Mets to consistently be in the picture for both. James McCann and Trevor May is an excellent start to the offseason, but there is still work to be done.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)