With the 2018 season coming to a close, we are providing year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Old English D in 2018.
The Detroit Tigers completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.
As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.
Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!
Next up is Detroit’s starting catcher, James McCann.
Heading into his fourth season as Detroit’s starting catcher, many hoped that McCann would build on his career-best 2017 season and develop into an above-average hitting backstop.
Unfortunately, McCann took a step backward in nearly every possible metric at the plate last season.
In 118 games, McCann slashed just .220/.267/.314. He hit eight home runs and posted a 5.7% walk rate and a 25.1% strikeout rate, both which are worse than his 2017 numbers. He finished the year with a career-worst 58 wRC+ and a -0.1 fWAR.
Defensively, the McCannon was still out in full force as the strong-armed catcher threw out 27 base stealers, one away from his career-high. His pitch-framing still leaves something to be desired, but the Tigers could do much worse behind the plate than McCann.
McCann’s average defense doesn’t make up for his offensive woes, and in a year where the Tigers could have used a breakout they got a dud. Grayson Greiner and John Hicks are both capable backup catchers, but it’s hard to envision Detroit moving on from McCann unless they really believe one of them is ready to take the reins for good.
Instead, Detroit will likely hope McCann can regain some of the hitting prowess that made him roughly league average in 2017. Yay.