McCann deserves an All-Star start
As an objective journalist, I’m not supposed to serve as Brian McCann’s campaign manager. But while presenting the facts, it seems like it would be pretty easy to persuade you to click here and show McCann the final-week support he needs to earn the nod as the National League’s starting catcher during this year’s All-Star Game.
When the latest ballot results were released on Monday, it wasn’t too surprising to see that Yadier Molina was still leading the way among NL catchers. St. Louis fans have always shown strong All-Star support to their favorite Cardinals.
But it didn’t make much sense to see that over the course of seven days, Molina had doubled his lead over McCann to 315,973 votes.
While hitting .279 with five homers and a .736 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), Molina is enjoying a solid season and if you want to bring defense into the equation, then maybe you can make a case for him pleasing the hometown fans with his presence in the starting lineup during this year’s All-Star Game, which will be played at Busch Stadium on July 14.
But even while accounting for their gloves can you truly say that Molina is more deserving than McCann, whose .318 batting average is 39 points higher than Molina’s mark, which ranks second among NL catchers?
In addition, McCann’s .915 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) is 169 points better than any other NL catcher.
Having essentially missed the month of April while dealing with blurred vision, McCann doesn’t possess the same kind of power number that have helped him gain an All-Star selection during each of his first three full Major League seasons.
But even with this long absence, McCann ranks second among NL catchers in homers (6) and third with 29 RBIs.
With 52 fewer at-bats, McCann has tallied five more RBIs than Yadier Molina. And in 63 fewer at-bats, he has moved to within 12 RBIs of the leading mark posted by San Francisco’s Bengie Molina, who also paces the NL catchers with 10 homers.
Dating back to the start of the 2006 season, McCann leads all Major League catchers in doubles, homers, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
While these marks shouldn’t necessarily affect this year’s voting, they do serve as further proof that McCann and Minnesota’s Joe Mauer have undoubtedly established themselves as the game’s top offensive catchers.
With this in mind, there’s little doubt that McCann will gain a fourth consecutive All-Star appearance. But while he’ll never admit it, the satisfaction of this latest selection would be accompanied with the disappointment that will be felt if he doesn’t get the starting nod that he seemingly deserves.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
The Yankees are here: When the Yankees last visited Turner Field in 2000, the opener of that three-game series pitted Greg Maddux against Roger Clemens. During this battle between eventual 300-game winners, Maddux allowed seven earned runs and 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings. But with Clemens allowing six runs — four earned – in five innings, the Braves claimed an 11-7 win that was aided by Brian Jordan’s four-RBI performance.
With Tommy Hanson slated to start against Chien-Ming Wang tonight, this week’s series opener doesn’t provide the same kind of epic pitching matchup. But it’s going to be fun to see how Hanson handles himself while staring at the Yankee pinstripes during what will be just his fourth Major League start.
When asked yesterday about the potential anxiety he might experience while pitching to Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, Hanson said, “They’re hitters, so if I make my pitches, I feel like I’m going to be alright.”
If asked to compare Hanson to former Braves, I’d have to say he possesses Kevin Millwood’s quiet confidence and John Smoltz’s dominant arsenal. The kid is going to be special and his celebrity will instantaneously grow if he produces a gem in front of the New York media tonight.
Heyward update: Jason Heyward missed three weeks with a strained right oblique. Since returning to the Class A Myrtle Beach lineup last week, he has four hits in 17 at-bats. The rosters for this year’s Futures Game will be announced later this week and there’s obviously a chance that Heyward will be among those invited to participate.