We did not know it until just after the NLDS wrapped up, but Brian McCann’s 15th season in the big leagues would be his final one. After debuting with the Baby Braves in 2005, McCann would spend 10 years in Atlanta, appearing in 1,190 games and racking up nearly 4,700 plate appearances.
McCann will go down as one of the game’s best catchers of all-time with a career fWAR of 54.5, the 10th best mark ever. FanGraphs had a great writeup on his career and presented an interesting case for his Hall of Fame candidacy. While it seems more likely that he’s bound for the Hall of Very Good, no one will question the impact McCann made on the Braves’ organization during his decade-plus with the club.
Let’s review his 2019.
2019 Statline: 85 games, .249/.323/.412, 89 wRC+, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 1.1 fWAR
What Went Right
McCann wore down as the 2019 campaign progressed, but he still managed to put up a respectable final line while platooning with Tyler Flowers. So much of what McCann brings is not measured on a stat sheet; for a team with oodles of young talent, Mac’s presence in the clubhouse was noted throughout the long season.
The best moment of McCann’s 2019? It wasn’t much of a debate.
McCann will be missed. In an era with so few impact catchers, he was arguably the game’s best for a decade. It would not be a surprise to see him return in a coaching or managerial capacity one day.
What Went Wrong
Honestly, considering the price, not much. The Braves knew what they were getting when they inked McCann to a one-year, $2M deal last winter. No one expected him to be Gary Sanchez or J.T. Realmuto. McCann did battle some nagging injuries throughout the season and hit the injured list at one point, but, again, that was probably to be expected for a backstop with 18+ professional years of wear and tear on his body. McCann’s postseason — where he started all five games on the NLDS — was one to forget, batting just .188 with a .485 OPS.