Saturday, October 4, 2014
THE UPS & DOWNS OF BRIAN MCCANN
The Yankees have not yet seen the real Brian McCann. At least, this is what I am choosing to believe. On paper, this signing was amazing. Sometimes, things don't always come to fruition and this season it didn't. I do believe that 2015 will be a different story. As tough as this season was for McCann there is one thing that he excelled at and I can't take that away from him....
Watching McCann sometimes made me cringe this season, but while he struggled offensively he really did a good job working with the pitchers and calling games. It's not easy transitioning not only to a new league but he found himself in New York of all places after spending 9 years with the Braves. Oh and not to mention that he basically had to learn two different starting rotations in the same season.
No one likes excuses, but losing four of the starts in July required a lot of adapting. It was probably hard enough to get a routine with an entirely new pitching staff but after getting in a groove with CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka they all go down for the count. There is nothing like getting a routine down and then having to change it up. Baseball players are creatures of habit after all.
Yankee management had to make the adjustments needed to right the ship again, and so did McCann. The Yankees threw Vidal Nuno, Shane Greene, Brandon McCarthy, and Chris Capuano into the mix. I give McCann a lot of credit for being versatile. It's hard to just transition that fast but he also did it with the pressure of knowing that the Yankees were on the outside looking in and trying to get to the postseason. The pitching was a strength for us this year despite all of the injuries, we adapted. So did McCann, and I think that reason alone shows us that he really is a strategic, and smart catcher.
Putting McCann in the batters box wasn't as easy for him. This season definitely was not good for him offensively. I look back at his first month in pinstripes and even I was cringing. His numbers were very similar to what Chris Stewart did for us last year and to me that was shocking. No offense to Stewart, but McCann has the reputation of a power hitter. The combination of high pop up rates, low walk rate and a lot of swing and misses outside of the zone were shocking to see. The lack of timely hitting also became frustrating. McCann definitely didn't live up to expectations this year....but the good news is 2014 is in the books and next year should have less pressure.
I think Hal Steinbrenner said it best when he recapped the season, read STEINBRENNER ISSUES APOLOGY TO FANS. A lot of players under performed, and McCann is one of them. In the long run, I do think he will be a good signing for us. It's time to turn the page....and dominate next season.
--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
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