James McCann to the Mets, RANKED

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The New York Mets and James McCann have reportedly settled on a four-year deal worth upwards of $40 million. McCann is just 30 years old, so New York should have this position well-covered for the foreseeable future. Here’s how McCann stacks up over the last two seasons, which are widely known to be his best two offensive years.

This sort is catchers from 2019-2020 with a minimum of 500 plate appearances, which is only 17 backstops:

Games: 149 (14th) – No surprise here, as McCann had the lion’s share in 2019 but had to back up Yasmani Grandal in 2020.

Plate Appearances: 587 (9th) – So he’s 14th in games played but up to ninth in plate appearances. Looks like someone has a better stick than some of his peers…

Homers: 25 (tied-6th) – See what I mean? We’ll have to see what happens with the pop after the park downgrade to New York, but I’m not too worried.

Runs: 82 (5th) – Obviously a great team context in Chicago. But don’t sleep on Steve Cohen continuing to make a splash, and the Mets weren’t horrible in runs scored last year anyway–they ranked 13th in the majors with 286, just ahead of the Astros (279) and Rockies (275).

RBI: 75 (8th) – Again, a great team in Chicago. But the Mets don’t look too slouchy, either. And it would appear that Cohen is nowhere near close to being done with making moves.

Stolen bases: 5 (tied-5th) – McCann’s 26.1 ft/s sprint speed was in the 32nd percentile in 2020, so he’s likely not going to make us forget about the foot speed of J.T. Realmuto anytime soon.

Walk rate: 6.5% (15th) – Only Yadier Molina (4.8%) and Jorge Alfaro (4.6%) were worse among this sort.

Strikeout rate: 28.4% (14th) – Only Roberto Perez, Gary Sanchez, and Jorge Alfaro struck out more in this sort. And the aforementioned Molina, who doesn’t walk much? Yeah, his 13.0% strikeout rate is the best of the bunch.

ISO: .198 (5th) – Only Gary Sanchez, Willson Contreras, J.T. Realmuto, and Yasmani Grandal can boast a higher ISO over the last two seasons (at least among this sort of 500+ PA).

BABIP: .355 (2nd) – Having the 2nd-highest BABIP isn’t a swell thing, but he does have xBA marks of .259 and .258 over his last two seasons. Even if he can’t sustain a high BABIP, I’d still feel okay projecting a .250+ BA, which isn’t shabby for anyone–especially a catcher.

BA: .276 (tied-2nd) – Only Christian Vazquez and Wilson Ramos have matched McCann in batting average over the last two seasons. Travis d’Arnaud and J.T. Realmuto (.273) aren’t far back. And sure, it’s a bit fueled by the BABIP. But we’ve seen two seasons of this production now, even if the 2020 year was shortened.

OBP: .334 (6th) – This mark impresses me given the low walk rate.

SLG: .474 (4th) – Only Realmuto, Gary Sanchez, and Willson Contreras have fared better. Pretty solid company.

wOBA: .341 (4th) – Only Contreras, Grandal, and Realmuto were better.

wRC+: 116 (3rd) – Trailing only Contreras and Grandal.

EV: 90.2 MPH (6th) – And perhaps here is where some of that batted ball luck comes from. Sanchez, d’Arnaud, Grandal, Alfaro, and Realmuto are the names ahead of McCann.

SwStr%: 13.2% (13th)

Contact%: 73.1% (12th)

Z-Contact%: 84.0% (10th)

O-Contact%: 56.8% (12th)

Swing%: 49.2% (7th)

Z-Swing%: 68.8% (10th)

O-Swing% – 34.4% (11th)

The plate discipline doesn’t look stellar, but McCann moved in the right direction in 2020 by tying the best chase rate of his career (30.5%) and trimming his swinging strike rate to 11.8%–which is only a hair worse than the MLB average of 11.3%. He also swung a tad bit less, made more contact overall and more contact in the zone.

Add it all up and we have a solid player here, and another quality backstop to draft for fantasy baseball purposes. Currently he’s 12th off the board among his peers per recent NFBC ADP, being selected around pick 220. Hopefully that number won’t rise too much, as I fear we will pass the break even point if it does so. Stay tuned!

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