Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meet A Prospect: Brian McCann

Brian Michael McCann was born on February 20, 1984 in Athens, Georgia. Brian attended Duluth High School in Duluth, Georgia before being drafted out of High School by the Atlanta Braves. Brian was taken in the 2nd round of the 2002 amateur draft and signed on July 11, 2002 to become a member of the Braves organization. Brian made his Major League debut on June 10, 2005 and spent his entire career in Atlanta before signing what could equate to a six year deal worth $100 million with the Yankees this offseason. Allow me introduce you to Mr. Brian McCann Yankees fans.

McCann came up in June of 2005 to be the personal catcher for then Braves pitcher John Smoltz and got off to a smoking start hitting a home run in his second Major League game. McCann also hit a home run in his first playoff at bat that season becoming the first Braves player to ever do that when he did so against Roger Clemens conveniently. The Braves traded catcher Johnny Estrada to the Diamondbacks that offseason and became the Braves full time catcher in 2006.

McCann responded in 2006 by leading all catchers in home runs with 24 home runs and was tied for the Major League lead for RBI's by a catcher with Jorge Posada and Victor Martinez with 94 RBI's. McCann's arbitration was bought out after this season as he signed a six year deal worth $27.8 million during Spring Training for the 2007 season.

In April of 2009 McCann was bothered by blurry vision in his left eye after receiving LASIK surgery to correct the problem in 2007 and opted to wear glasses. Oakley even made McCann his own line of glasses that fit under his mask for the 2009 season. You could tell his eyes bothered him in 2009 as he committed more errors, 12, at catcher then any other player in the Majors. McCann also had the lowest fielding percentage as well with a .988 percentage.

McCann has had a lot of highlights and low lights in his career as well. During Spring Training in 2011 McCann hit a line drive that struck coach Luis Salazar that blinded him in the left eye. Two months later McCann hit a game tying ninth inning home run and then a game winning two run home run in the 11th inning to beat the Houston Astros 3-1. Then again in 2011 McCann allowed 104 stolen bases which is the most among all major league catcher. IN July of 2012 McCann hit a home run in six straight games becoming the first player since Jim Thome in 2007 to achieve the feat and hit his sixth on the same day as teammate Chipper Jones tied Pete Rose's record for extra base hits by a switch hitter.

Brian's family is still very much a part of his life and baseball as a whole. His father, Howie McCann, coached baseball at Marshall University and is currently running Windward Baseball Academy. Brian's older brother, Brad McCann, played minor league baseball in the Florida Marlins and Kansas City Royals systems before retiring before the 2007 season. Brian is also married to his lovely wife Ashley Jarusinski when they wed in December of 2007 and have two children, Colt Michael McCann and Colbie McCann. McCann and his family have their home in Lawrenceville, Georgia but I have a feeling he may be purchasing something a little closer to New York soon.

Coming into the 2014 season Brian has career stats of .277 batting average, 1,070 hits, 176 home runs, and 661 RBI's.  Brian also has been an All Star seven times, won five Silver Slugger awards, he was the 2010 All Star Game MVP,  and even garnered an MVP vote or two in 2010. Brian will be 30 years old when 2014 season and will step into some big Yankees catching shoes formerly filled by the liked of Jorge Posada, Yogi Berra, etc. If anyone can do it I think Brian McCann can and I look forward to seeing him for the 2014 season and beyond in pinstripes.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)