Braves' Brian McCann announces retirement, capping one of the most productive catching careers in recent years
McCann said he made up his mind about a month and a half ago
The Atlanta Braves had their season come to an end on Wednesday, losing in blowout fashion to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series. The Braves were never really in the contest: they trailed by 10 runs after the top of the first due to a combination of poor pitching from Mike Foltynewicz and poor fielding by Freddie Freeman. The game will be remembered for that, and one other reason: it marked the end of catcher Brian McCann's career.
McCann, 35, announced after the loss that he was hanging up his spikes, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, among others. Despite the obvious jokes -- that he retired because of the game -- he made it clear that he came to his decision "a month and a half ago."
McCann's career spanned parts of 15 seasons, during which he hit .262/.337/.452 (110 OPS+) with 282 career home runs and a number of impressive accomplishments. He made seven All-Star Games, won six Silver Sluggers, and was part of the Houston Astros' 2017 World Series championship squad. McCann also won the All-Star Game MVP in 2010.
Here are McCann's career ranks among catchers (min. 3,000 PA) since the last round of expansion:
6,850 PA (5th)
110 OPS+ (6th)
282 HR (1st)
1,018 RBI (2nd)
31.8 WAR (7th)
Throughout McCann's career he played for three teams: the Braves and Astros, of course, and the New York Yankees. His finest seasons came in Atlanta, with the organization who drafted him in the second round out of a Georgia high school back in 2002.
It's unlikely that McCann will ever be inducted into Cooperstown -- he didn't hit any of the magical numbers -- but advanced metrics suggest he has a better case than might be recognized. Baseball Prospectus accounts for framing and other aspects of catcher defense, and has him worth more than 60 Wins Above Replacement for his career. According to Baseball-Reference, the average enshrined catcher was worth 54 career wins.
Whether or not McCann's career gets the shine it deserves, he's likely to be remembered as a productive two-way player.
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