James McCann (baseball)
McCann with the Detroit Tigers
|Detroit Tigers – No. 34|
June 13, 1990 |
Santa Barbara, California
|September 1, 2014, for the Detroit Tigers|
(through June 15, 2018)
|Runs batted in||158|
James Thomas McCann (born June 13, 1990) is an American professional baseball catcher for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to beginning his professional career, he played college baseball at the University of Arkansas. McCann has also competed for the United States national baseball team. His strong throwing arm and ability to throw out potential base stealers has earned him the nickname "McCannon".
McCann, attended Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California. Out of high school, the Chicago White Sox drafted McCann in the 31st round (930th overall) of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft, but he did not sign, opting to attend college. McCann enrolled at the University of Arkansas, where he played college baseball for the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team in the Southeastern Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division I. In his junior season, McCann had a .306 batting average, six home runs, 14 doubles, 11 stolen bases, 38 runs batted in (RBIs) and 35 runs scored in 61 games played. McCann was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, presented to the best catcher in NCAA's Division I.
Minor league career
The Detroit Tigers selected McCann in the second round, with the 1 overall selection, of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. He was Detroit's first selection of the draft, and the first of four catchers the team selected. He signed with the Tigers and made his professional debut in 2011, playing five games with the Gulf Coast Tigers of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before being promoted to the West Michigan Whitecaps of the Class A Midwest League.
The Tigers invited McCann to spring training in 2012. He began the 2012 season with the Lakeland Tigers of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League, and received a promotion to the Erie SeaWolves of the Class AA Eastern League on June 6, though be batted only .200 for Erie. After adjusting his offensive approach, McCann responded with a .283 average through July 14 of the 2013 season, and appeared in the All-Star Futures Game. He ended the season with a .277 average, eight home runs, 30 doubles, 54 runs batted in (RBIs), and an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of .731.
Major League Baseball
2014: Major League debut
 On September 1, 2014, McCann was called up by the Detroit Tigers. He made his major league debut that day in the bottom of the ninth inning, replacing catcher Alex Avila. McCann got his first major league start on September 19, 2014, catching for Justin Verlander against the Kansas City Royals. McCann had two hits (both to center field), a stolen base, and scored twice.
In Spring Training 2015, McCann competed with Bryan Holaday to be the backup catcher behind Avila. McCann won the competition. He hit his first major league home run, an inside-the-park home run, on April 29, 2015. On May 21, 2015, he hit his first conventional home run, a walk-off in the 11th inning to give the Tigers a 6–5 victory over the Houston Astros. McCann became the first MLB player to hit an inside-the-park home run and a walk-off home run for his first two career home runs since Tim Raines in 1981. On June 28, 2015, McCann hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Tigers a 5–4 victory over the Chicago White Sox. McCann became the first MLB player to hit an inside-the-park home run and two walk-off home runs for his first three career home runs since Tony Piet in 1932.
McCann set the modern major league record for the number of consecutive games played at catcher to start a career without an error, surpassing the previous record of 93 set by Frankie Pytlak from 1932 to 1934. McCann finished the 2015 season with no errors in 112 games played at catcher to lead all MLB catchers in fielding percentage. He became the sixth catcher in major league history to catch at least 100 games in a season without committing an error, following Chris Iannetta and Chris Snyder in 2008, Mike Matheny in 2003, Charles Johnson in 1997 and Buddy Rosar in 1946.
McCann was named the 2015 Detroit Tigers/Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association Rookie of the Year. He finished the 2015 season with a .264 average (106-for-401), 18 doubles, five triples, seven home runs and 41 RBI, while throwing out 41 percent of potential base stealers. His 29 multi-hit games ranked fourth among American League rookies.
On April 11, 2016, McCann suffered a Grade 2 right ankle sprain and was placed on the disabled list. On May 31, 2016, McCann's Major League record of 139 games to start a career at catcher without committing an error ended.
For the 2016 season, McCann batted .221 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 105 games. Following the season, McCann was named a Gold Glove Award finalist for catcher, along with Carlos Pérez and Salvador Pérez. McCann threw out 45 percent of would-be basestealers, second-highest among AL catchers, and led his position with nine double plays. His nine Defensive Runs Saved also ranked second in the AL.
On May 26, McCann was put on the 10 day DL because of a left hand laceration. He returned to the Tigers on June 9 against the Boston Red Sox. McCann struggled at the plate through June, finishing the month with a .194 batting average and .268 on-base percentage. However, a hot July including a ten-game hitting streak to finish off the month and four multi-hit games pushed McCann's average to the .246 mark with a .321 on-base percentage. For all of July, McCann batted .396 (19-for-48) with a .473 OBP, seven extra-base hits and 11 runs batted in. His hitting streak would extend to 14 games before ending on August 5. McCann finished the 2017 season with a .253 batting average, while hitting 13 home runs in 352 at-bats.
On January 11, 2018, the Tigers signed McCann to a one-year deal worth $2.375 million, avoiding arbitration.
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- Beck, Jason (February 14, 2018). "McCann's spring brightened by two tiny reasons". MLB.com. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
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