Detroit Tigers: Is James McCann still the long-term solution behind the plate?
James McCann has clearly figured something out in the batter’s box, as he’s been scathing hot at the plate lately.
McCann’s recent run of form helped him offset a dreadful statistical start to the 2017 campaign.
In 144 plate appearances prior to going on a tear, the catcher was hitting .183 with a .259 on-base percentage, .381 slugging percentage, a .640 OPS, a .273 wOBA, a .198 ISO and a 65 wRC+.
Overall, McCann is how hitting .251 with a .324 on-base percentage, a .461 slugging percentage, a .785 OPS, a .333 wOBA, a .209 ISO and a 107 wRC+.
McCann’s improved offensive play has helped bumped his WAR up to 1.3 overall.
In terms of players still on Detroit’s roster, only Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias rank higher.
Additionally, his walk percentage is up (6.2% in 2016 to 7.8% in 2017) and his strikeout percentage is down (29.2% in 2016 to 24.4% in 2017).
Those are perfectly acceptable, even strong offensive numbers for a defensive-oriented catcher.
For most glove-first backstops, they need to hit just enough to contribute offensively to provide value, and McCann is doing more than his fair share as a strong defensive catcher.