The headline asks the question. How big of a deal is it that the Atlanta Braves open their series with the Cincinnati Reds with their all-star catcher Brian McCann? Are you kidding me? It’s huge! Thanks for reading. Bye. Okay just kidding. We’ll elaborate on it a little bit. First we will go over the pluses to getting McCann back because there really are only pluses.
He is all around one of the best catchers in all of Major League Baseball and has been for a while now. He was still considered one of the best in baseball even though his shoulder has been hurt literally for years. Now, in a contract year no-less, McCann is finally going to be healthy with the bat and with the glove behind the plate. Most importantly he won’t have to alter his throws or his big swing to keep the pain away. All that means McCann will be as good as he has ever been and maybe better.
For the Braves what that means is a huge plus on the offensive side of the ball. McCann not only is a great hitter but has become a great clutch hitter over the years. Make no mistake, no matter what the contract situation, McCann is a leader on this team and they have been playing with a giant hole in their side without him. The offense will be more consistent and overall will be more efficient with everyone settling into a natural role and batting order slot.
The only thing that can even possibly be looked at as a negative is the emergence of rookie catcher Evan Gattis in the first month of the year. Gattis has shown that he belongs at the big league level and the Braves sure can use his bat. It will be easy enough to fit him in now and then either in left field with Justin Upton flipping to his native right field until Jason Heyward comes back, or at first. Of course he can also play behind the plate now and then. McCann is the catcher though. Gattis might be a catcher of the future or even the catcher of the future but McCann is the man until he isn’t. The Braves will feel much more themselves with him back at home behind the plate.