Detroit Tigers 5 defensive questions

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Mar 14, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann (34) catches a ball during a spring training baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

#4: Will there be a downgrade defensively with James McCann?

This may be more of a non-issue than we originally thought because James McCann has started just one game in the early going.

Throughout the offseason it seemed as if the Detroit Tigers would be going with a fairly even split between Alex Avila and McCann depending on the opposing starting pitch, but with Avila’s hot start, manager Brad Ausmus seems to be going with the starting-backup arrangement, much like it was last year with Avila-Bryan Holaday.

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This could, of course, change as the season progresses if Avila regresses back to his hitting norms of the last 2-3 years. Should that time come where McCann gets more playing time, will it downgrade the Tigers’ defense?

Though it was largely in the minors, McCann’s stats stack up or are better than Avila’s. He threw out 42% of would-be stealers while Avila was a solid for MLB 34%. Fielding percentage was .993 for McCann, .995 for Avila. Each committed just five errors.

McCann is a rookie, so don’t expect him to hold these numbers for an extended period in MLB–at least not yet. But thinking it would be a tremendous downgrade going from Avila to McCann behind the plate is not the case.

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