James McCann was a below-average major-league hitter last season, but he wasn't bad at all compared to his contemporaries at the catcher position. He lifted 13 home runs in 391 plate appearances, lending hope to the idea that he could get to 20 homers with a full season of regular playing time. McCann's 6.6 walk percentage leaves something to be desired, but he trimmed his strikeout rate from 2016 by nearly six percentage points to 22.8 percent and showed improvement against right-handed pitching (.234/.296/.355, up from .200/.236/.219 in 2016). The pitch-framing statistics are not kind to McCann, but he has a great arm and grades out well on defense. He should be the primary catcher on Opening Day, and he could hit as high as fifth or sixth in the Tigers' batting order.
McCann and the Tigers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.375 million contract Thursday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The backstop is set to earn nearly $2 million more than he did in 2017 after the two parties reached an agreement for next season, thus avoiding arbitration in McCann's first year of eligibility. He enjoyed the best season of his career in 2017, hitting .253/.318/.415 with 13 homers in 391 plate appearances. As the Tigers begin their rebuild, McCann figures to be locked in as the team's starting catcher heading into next season.
McCann is out of the lineup Sunday against the Twins. McCann has started six consecutive games behind the dish for the Tigers. In that time, he's gone 4-for-23 (.174). He'll move to the bench for Sunday's season finale against Minnesota. McCann hit .253/.318/.415 over 106 games this season. With McCann out, Bryan Holaday will serve as Detroit's catcher.
McCann is not in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Twins. As usual, McCann will get Saturday off with the Indians playing a day game following a night game. In his place, Bryan Holaday is batting sixth and starting behind the dish.
McCann is not in the lineup against the A's on Wednesday. McCann will receive a typical day off following a pair of starts behind the plate, including a 2-for-5 showing with a triple and three RBI during Tuesday's affair. John Hicks is set to handle the catching duties in his stead.
McCann went 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI and a run in Tuesday's loss to Oakland. It's been a bit of an up-and-down season for McCann, but he's already set a new career mark in homers (13), while Tuesday's effort brought his RBI total to a career-high-tying 48. The 27-year-old catcher has improved his stats across the board this season, and it's not out of the question to expect further growth next season as he continues settling into the No. 1 role behind the plate in Detroit.
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