Detroit Tigers: Is James McCann still the long-term solution behind the plate?

DETROIT, MI - JULY 15: Catcher James McCann #34 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with pitcher Alex Wilson #30 of the Detroit Tigers after a 11-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park on July 15, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 15: Catcher James McCann #34 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with pitcher Alex Wilson #30 of the Detroit Tigers after a 11-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park on July 15, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
6 of 6
Next
Detroit Tigers
DETROIT, MI – JULY 30: James McCann #34 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with Justin Upton #8 of the Detroit Tigers after a win over the Houston Astros at Comerica Park on July 30, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Upton went 4-for-5 with six RBI in a 13-1 win. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

Is James McCann the long-term answer behind the plate for the Detroit Tigers?

The defensive numbers may a blip on the radar and not a long-term trend in the grand scheme of things for James McCann. If that’s the case and McCann continues to improve at the plate, he’ll be the catcher in the Motor City until McMillan or one of the other prospects is ready to take over.

If his defensive numbers continue to struggle and his offense comes back to earth? That’s another story, especially if the 27-year-old can’t figure out right-handed pitching.

In 141 plate appearances versus righties this year, McCann is batting .205 with a .286 on-base percentage, a .336 slugging percentage and a .622 OPS.

His career OPS against right-handers is just .580, compared to a .914 numbers versus southpaws.

If this trend continues in McCann’s career, the Tigers will consistently be on the look-out for backstops who can hit right-handers to pair with the former second-round pick.

This worked out brilliantly in the early stages of 2017 with Alex Avila getting off to a torrid start against right-handers. However, finding someone with Avila’s ability to hit on a yearly basis is easier said than done.

Next: Breaking down all angles of the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila deal

All told, if James McCann puts it all together, he’ll be a Detroit Tigers fixture for the foreseeable future.