Played much worse than he did in 2006, but was still the second-best catcher in the league. McCann’s batting average dropped by 63 points, his slugging percentage by 120. He walked less and struck out more often, and grounded into seven more double plays. Defensively, he committed more errors and was slightly less successful throwing runners out. There really aren’t any pluses here, and it’s only because he was so good in 2006 that he could drop like this and still be a productive player.
He had injuries, of course. Hand injuries, ankle injuries, and often tried to play through them but wasn’t healthy enough to hit. These things happen to a catcher. The trade of Saltalamacchia pretty much keeps the Braves from moving McCann from behind the plate, even if Teixeira leaves after the season. I still don’t know if it would have been better for the team to shift McCann and make Saltalamacchia the starter at catcher, but there’s no evidence that they ever considered it.
My expectation for 2008 is that McCann will hit somewhere between what he did last year and what he did the year before — perhaps around his career averages of .296/.351/.491. Hopefully he can avoid the leg injuries, which limited his mobility behind the plate. He is slow and he’s never going to be not slow, but he has to be more agile.