Catcher Brian McCann has not started particularly well in his first season with the New York Yankees. However, McCann broke out in a big way on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, smacking his first two homers of the year against the Boston Red Sox.
McCann spent his first nine big league seasons with the Atlanta Braves before signing a five-year contract with the Yankees worth $85 million. This was part of a comprehensive Yankees spending spree that included the acquisition of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltan and Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka, among others.
In the Yankees’ 7-4 win over the Red Sox, McCann hit a solo shot off John Lackey in the fourth inning to take the lead, and then took Lackey deep again in the sixth inning with a runner on to extend the lead further. While the season is still young, this breakout performance is no doubt a welcomed sight for the Yankees, as I am sure it is for McCann himself.
The new Yankees backstop was a durable and consistent performer over the years in Atlanta. McCann hit more than 20 homers in 7-of-8 full seasons in Atlanta, and his batting average has always been relatively steady. This is McCann’s first exposure to the American League, so a brief period of adjustment is to be expected. In addition, we are talking about a fairly small sample size, so using the word slump to describe McCann’s start is not completely accurate.
Catchers tend to break down pretty quickly, and McCann certainly has logged significant time behind the plate. The merits of signing a 30-year-old catcher to a five-year contract for that much money is certainly debatable, but the Yankees are hoping for continued production from their new catcher. Perhaps his first two homers of the season are a precursor of things to come.