2021 New York Mets Player Evaluations: Catcher James McCann

The New York Mets opted for the cheaper option last offseason when they opted to sign James McCann instead of J.T. Realmuto. McCann signed with the Mets for four years at $40.6 million while Realmuto inked a five-year, $115.5 million deal with the rival Philadelphia Phillies. These were the best two catching options in free agency, but McCann lagged behind Realmuto in 2021.

McCann was such an intriguing addition because of his emerging hitting metrics, which showed increased exit velocity and launch angle, which was not present early in his career. He seemed like a much better option than Wilson Ramos but was more of the same. McCann had an extremely slow start as his average hovered around the Mendoza line through the end of May.

False Hope

When June rolled around, he put together his best offensive month by hitting .288/.341/.500 with four home runs and 16 runs batted in. McCann never carried the momentum to the second half of the season and finished was a slash line of .232/.294/.349 in 121 games. These numbers would be no surprise the Mets signed the Detroit Tigers version of McCann, but they invested in the Chicago White Sox version.

In Chicago, McCann became a hitter known for his increased hard-hit rate and launch angle. While the hard-hit remained similar, his launch angle fell dramatically. McCann’s launch angle dropped from 15 degrees in 2020 to just 9.3 in the 2021 season. This resulted in his 51.7% groundball rate, the highest of his career, and grounding into 12 double plays. McCann’s hard-hit groundballs combined with his lack of speed make it impossible for him to be a steady hitter.

Defensive Steps Back

McCann was solid behind the plate but was not as good as advertised. He threw out a career-low 27% of base stealers, but the Mets expected more since his career rate was in the mid-30s. Pitch framing was below average at -3 runs extra strikes and a 47.9% strike rate. The reason for the drop-off from 2020 was McCann’s inability to frame pitches low in the zone. From inside to outside to a right-handed batter, he had a percentage of 38.1%/61.8%/31.3% last season. In 2021, McCann fell to 24%/51.6%/29.9%, and we would often see him give up on the lower pitches as the season moved forward.

The biggest concern for McCann was his inability to hit high velocity after making a name off it during last season. He hit .245 with a .371 slugging percentage off fastballs this season after hitting .326 with a .478 slugging the previous year. McCann often struggled with his timing at the plate and never looked comfortable at any point.

He should bounce back fine defensively, but the bat is a significant question mark heading into 2022. McCann is heading into his age-32 season at a position where regressions steadily decline at his age. He was never a factor on offense and is heading into a critical year in year two of his deal.

Catching prospect Francisco Alvarez is a projected 2023 debut and is quickly on his way to becoming big-league ready. Should each of them continue to move in opposite directions, we could discuss Alvarez as the opening day catcher in 2023. Tomas Nido is a present member of the Mets roster who is on McCann’s heels to take away playing time. Nido had a few stretches where he earned playing time over the struggling McCann.

2021 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2022 Projection)

Hitting: 30 (35), .232 average is eight points lower than his average during five years in Detroit.

Power: 25 (35), The power numbers are more likely to return than the average.

Run: 20 (20), 26.7 sprint speed was a 0.6 increase from 2020.

Arm: 40 (50), 1 rSB and his 27% CS will improve in 2022.

Field: 30 (45), -5 DRS, and eight passed balls were the second-highest of his career.

Overall: 30 (40), Even as a Tiger, McCann was a better player than he showed in 2021.

FOCO Releasing James McCann Mets Black Jersey Bobblehead

While the New York Mets may not be at home, FOCO has Mets fans set with another Black Friday jersey bobblehead. James McCann joins Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Jacob deGrom as the latest Met to get their own Black Jersey Bobblehead.

Just like the past bobbleheads, there are 321 pieces that cost $60 on the FOCO website. McCann is wearing the black jersey with his pearly smile and classic finish on his swing. The Mets catcher is also wearing the black stirrups we have seen past bobbleheads display as well. Make sure to place your order for McCann’s bobblehead before they run out!

Mets Losing Streak Gets To Three After 5-4 Loss Against Marlins

edwin diaz, mets

The New York Mets Achilles heel is bad baseball teams because they play down to their level. Consistent losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates were the beginning and now losing two straight to the Miami Marlins continues the trend. Taijuan Walker could not get out of his pitching slump and fell victim to the home run again in the 5-4 loss.

Walker was getting beat by good hitters throughout his slump but tonight was the opposite. Alex Jackson was 3-for-47 with one extra-base hit in his big league career but took Walker deep to center field to open up the Marlins scoring. Isan Diaz is a .175 career hitter but also homered off him for the second run. To cap off the scoring off Walker, Bryan De La Cruz, who was 1-for-14 to start his career, had three hits, including a two-run single. Seth Lugo allowed the Marlins to get an insurance run in the bottom of the eight, and it turned out to be the one that saved the Marlins’ win.

Walker still made it through 5.2 innings with the four earned runs but also allowed eight hits. The two home runs allowed pushed Walker’s total to seven in his last three starts after allowing six in his first 17 starts. Regression from his All-Star form or not, there is no reason for the Marlins lineup to hit him around this easily.

Playing From Behind

Offensively, each run the Marlins scored felt like five due to the disappointing bats. They mustered just four hits to get their three runs and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. James McCann‘s double brought the Mets within one and put him as the tying run at second, but Brandon Drury could not keep his pinch-hitting magic alive. Drury lined on about 10 feet foul before grounding out to shortstop to end the game. J.D. Davis was once again the Mets’ best hitter as he provided a two-run double to keep his average over .300.

Luis Rojas tried to inject some life into his team after getting ejected to end the seventh inning, but it was a failed attempt. The lack of focus on offense showed when McCann swung at a 3-0 pitch in the eighth as the tying run. The frustration went beyond the manager as Javy Baez showed his after flying out to end the eighth. Baez was chirping at home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater after Baez felt he was talking junk to him. The loss shrinks the Mets NL East lead to just 1.5 games after the Philadelphia Phillies won.

When Carlos Carrasco faces Zach Thompson, the Mets hope to right the ship and end the losing streak on Wednesday. Like the first two games, the first pitch is scheduled for another 7:10 p.m. ET start from loanDepot Park.


Mets Game Preview: (6/4/21) @ San Diego Padres (35-23)

The New York Mets look to rebound from their tough loss to the San Diego Padres in game one of their four-game series. Their understaffed roster came close to making a comeback against the Padres bullpen but could never tie the game. The Padres bullpen bent but did not break and escape with a 4-3 victory. Game two of the series is another late night 10:10 p.m. ET start.

James McCann has been red hot over the last six games and has been the backbone of the Mets offense. He is 10-for-22 with three home runs and three doubles. During this streak, McCann has taken his average from .197 to .234 and is continuing to play tremendous defense. Francisco Lindor is in the middle of a six-game hitting streak and is hitting .385 over that span.

Fernando Tatis Jr. is facing a lefty tonight, and it has been his kryptonite this year. He only has 28 at-bats against them and is hitting just .214 with two home runs against them. The Padres will welcome Tommy Pham back to the lineup after his scary collision with Ha-Seong Kim earlier this week.

Pitching Matchup

Joey Lucchesi returns where his career started to face the Padres for the first time. He has pitched exceptionally well over his last two outings, allowing one run in 7.2 combined innings pitched. In his career at Petco Park, Lucchesi has a 3.19 ERA in 33 career outings.

Former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell is on the bump for the Padres. Snell has been far from his Cy Young form with a 5.55 ERA and averaging just under six walks per nine innings. In his last two starts, he has allowed 12 runs and three home runs. Despite the lousy ERA, he has 70 strikeouts in just 47 innings pitched.

Matchups To Lookout For

Blake Snell vs. James McCann: 3-for-9 (.333), Home Run, Walk, 4 Strikeouts

Blake Snell vs. Kevin Pillar: 7-for-16 (.438), 2 Doubles, Walk, Strikeouts

Blake Snell vs. Francisco Lindor: 1-for-15 (.067), Double, 3 Strikeouts

Mets Can’t Stop Tatis Jr. and Darvish, Fall Short in 4-3 Loss To Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. and Yu Darvish are two key reasons why the San Diego Padres are a contender, and the New York Mets learned that lesson in game one of their series. Both left their marks all over the Padres 4-3 victory to give themselves the upper hand in their four-game series.

Darvish made it look easy on both sides of the ball throughout his start. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing four hits, two runs, and struck out five. Darvish stayed true to his usual game plan of spinning the ball in and out of the zone while reaching back for his mid-90s fastball when he needed the boost. Offensively, Darvish turns into a weapon against the Mets as he recorded two hits, including a double. He now has 13 hits in his career, and five have come against the Mets.

Tatis Does It All

Tatis Jr.’s status for the game was originally in question due to injury, and he made the Mets wish he were not in the lineup. He opened up the Padres scoring with a two-run homer in the third inning that center fielder Mason Williams could not keep in his glove during his leaping attempt. Tatis Jr. later used his legs to get the Padres their fourth run on a wild pitch which barely squibbed away from catcher James McCann. The run ended up paying dividends as it the extra run the Padres needed to win.

Taijuan Walker struggled throughout his start but battled enough to make it through five innings. He allowed seven hits, four runs, four walks and needed 104 pitches to get through the outing. Manager Luis Rojas had an opportunity to pinch hit for Walker in the fifth inning, down three, with two runners on but let him hit. After needing all but one out from his bullpen on Wednesday, it was a no-brainer to squeeze another inning from Walker.

Coming Up Short

James McCann’s two-run homer was the only damage the Mets had off of Darvish. After falling behind 4-2, the Mets were on the brink of tying the game multiple times once Darvish exited. In the sixth, Tatis Jr.’s error loaded the bases for pinch hitter Pete Alonso, but he grounded into a double play to kill the rally. Billy McKinney‘s eighth-inning RBI triple with two outs moved the Mets to within one, but that was it.

In the ninth inning, the Mets got the first two runners on against closer Mark Melancon. The league leader in saves recorded a fielder’s choice and a Kevin Pillar double play to allow the Padres to escape with a win. This matchup was a prime example of the tight, competitive matchups we should expect going forward from both teams. With the loss, the Mets NL East lead drops to 3.5 games over the Atlanta Braves.

Two lefties face off in Friday’s rematch as former Padre Joey Lucchesi faces 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. The first pitch is once again a late-night 10:10 p.m. ET start from Petco Park.

Mets Blow The Game Twice in 6-5 Loss To The Arizona Diamondbacks

The New York Mets are known for their ugly June’s, and the trend is continuing in 2021. They wasted a 4-0 and 5-4 lead in extra innings to lose to the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak and was a rare off game from the Mets bullpen.

The 10th inning had as much action as any in the game. James McCann made a cameo as a pinch hitter and gave the Mets the lead with a leadoff RBI double. The Mets could not get the insurance run around to score, and it came back to haunt them. Trevor May was called into action for the save after struggling and throwing 26 pitches the previous night. May did not have his best stuff and ended up allowing a two-run double to Pavin Smith, which capped off a terrific night for him. Smith also had a monstrous 435-foot three-run home run earlier in the game.


Rojas had Trevor May, Drew Smith, and Seth Lugo to choose from for the 10th inning. Smith seemed like the option if the game remained tied or the Mets extended the lead. Lugo seemed like an afterthought due to Rojas hoping to open his season in a low leverage situation. May is in the middle of a pitching slump and has allowed runs in four of his last six outings. Despite getting five days off before Monday’s outing, it is clear that he has not been at his best as of late.

Either way, the loss should not have come down to extra innings. Marcus Stroman pitched five stellar innings before his confrontation with Josh Rojas after the fifth inning. Both benches and bullpens cleared, but no further conflict resulted from the gathering. Stroman struggled in the sixth inning by allowing Smith’s homer, moving the score to 4-3, and giving them new life.

Staying Alive

Rojas ended up getting his revenge against Edwin Diaz in the ninth. Nick Ahmed‘s single and error from Billy McKinney allowed him to get to second base to set the table for Rojas. With two-outs, Rojas found the hole between the first and second baseman to tie the game and give Diaz his first blown save of the season. Diaz gave up three hits in the inning, but none were hit particularly hard. The blown save was a case of Diaz getting unlucky with the defensive alignments behind him.

On Monday, Dominic Smith and Francisco Lindor showed signs of their power returning and did it once again tonight. Smith recorded a two-run homer and was robbed of a three-run homer, which resulted in a sacrifice fly. In the ninth, he walked and stole second base, the second of his career. Lindor had just one hit, but it turned out to be an RBI triple that ricocheted off the center-field fence. His average sits at .199 and has risen 16 points in the last five games.

The Mets cannot win every game, but this one is inexcusable to lose. They let the D’Backs hang around, gave them life after the bench-clearing issue, and failed to put the game away numerous times. Luckily the loss does not affect their division lead, which remains at 3.5 after the Atlanta Braves lost. At a 3:40 start on Wednesday, two lefties square off to finish the series. David Peterson takes the mound against veteran Madison Bumgarner.

deGrom Shows No Rust in Mets 3-1 Win Over Rockies

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets desperately needed healthy bodies to return from the injured list, and Jacob deGrom was the first of hopefully many to come back. deGrom looked fresh as ever by leading the Mets to a much-needed 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

deGrom came out firing from the beginning of his start, consistently throwing his fastball in the 100-101 range. He only got to throw 63 pitches, but it was enough to pitch five terrific innings, allowing one run and struck out nine. The only blemish on his line was a Ryan McMahon home run in the second inning. Of course, no deGrom start is complete without the theatrics of his bat. He recorded another hit to push his average to .471, and it would have been a double if he did not leave the bag on his slide.

Catcher Collab

The Mets offense was not anything special but did enough to support deGrom. The terrific pitching allows the offense to put up enough runs to survive. The catcher combination of James McCann and Tomas Nido got the job done by driving in all three runs. McCann did it early in the first inning with a ground out, and Nido continued his hot hitting with a two-run homer to put the Mets in the lead. Jonathan Villar and Dominic Smith were the two Mets to record multi-hit games.

The bullpen was tremendous following deGrom. Miguel Castro (2), Trevor May (1), and Edwin Diaz (1) combined for four hitless innings with six strikeouts to secure the victory. The Rockies had just one at-bat with runners in scoring position, which was the exact amount they had the previous night. The win keeps the Mets in first place and improves them to 12-5 at home this season.

Wednesday night features a pitchers duel between German Marquez and Marcus Stroman. The first pitch from Citi Field is another 7:10 p.m. ET start.

Mets Ninth Inning Rally Comes Up Short in 3-2 Loss to Rockies

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets‘ offensive struggles continue as they were outscored 3-2 by the Colorado Rockies in the first game of their series. Colorado is notorious for their lack of offense on the road, but they figured out a way to outscore the Triple-A lineup the Mets rolled out.

David Peterson looked like he was going to have another short start after allowing two solo home runs in the second inning. He rebounded and put together a quality start where he allowed three runs over six innings pitched with just three strikeouts. Peterson did not have his best stuff but certainly pitched well enough to deliver a victory.

Fellow lefty Austin Gomber was the pitcher who had his good stuff. Gomber pitched eight terrific innings, pitching into the ninth, allowing two runs, and striking out eight. James McCann and Brandon Drury each tagged him for solo home runs and summed up the Mets offense. Drury’s homer started a ninth-inning rally, but the Mets stranded the tying run at second against Carlos Estevez. Offense was such a premium that each team only had one at-bat with a runner in scoring position.

McCann At First Base

McCann played his first career game at first base with the Mets in dire need of depth on their roster. On his first play, McCann made a sprawling play on a groundball to his right and made a perfect toss to Peterson for the out. Unfortunately, Johneshwy Fargas left the game with what looks like a shoulder or collarbone injury. Fargas suffered the injury after slamming into the center field fence. With 16 players on the injured list, the Mets are running out of outfield options with Kevin Pillar, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto out of commission.

Luckily, Jacob deGrom returns off the injured list on Tuesday when he makes his first start in two weeks. Kyle Freeland makes his first start of the season after being sidelined with a shoulder injury. The first pitch from Citi Field is another 7:10 p.m. ET start.

New York Mets: Peterson Pitches Well, Bullpen Not So Much in 7-3 Loss

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets have some questions behind their quartet of top-tier relievers, and Robert Gsellman and Stephen Tarpley continued to heighten the need for reliable middle relievers. After a scoreless seventh inning, the Washington Nationals roughed up Gsellman in the eighth inning.

Josh Bell‘s majestic opposite solo home run tied the game at three and almost cleared the scoreboard. Gerardo Parra put the Nats in the lead with an RBI single giving them a 4-3 lead. They added a two-run homer from Luis Garcia and RBI single from Adrian Sanchez to complete the 7-3 victory.

David Peterson was in line for the win before the blown save from Gsellman. Peterson pitched six solid innings with four hits and two runs allowed. The Nats did a bulk of their damage during the fourth inning, with three hits and two runs in their top half. Singles from Josh Harrison and Hernan Perez were the only damage against the slender lefty. Peterson only struck out two but was very effective in the outing. He did not allow a hit for the first half of his start.

Manager Luis Rojas hopes to have a second lefty in the bullpen, but Tarpley squandered one of his final opportunities to make the roster. Tarpley allowed four hits and three runs, including the Garcia homer, and only retired one batter. Due to their rough outings, Gsellman and Tarpley made their route to the Opening Day roster bumpier. Tylor Megill came in and prevented more runs from being charged to Tarpley’s ledger in the ninth.

The Mets offense recorded 12 hits but only pushed 3 runs across. James McCann‘s RBI single provided the first run during the second inning. The other two runs came in the sixth when Dominic Smith lucked into an RBI triple on a dribbler that Bell misplayed at first base and J.D. Davis lined an RBI single over a drawn-in infield. McCann and Francisco Lindor were the two Mets with multiple hits on the night.

On Saturday, the Mets play another home game when the Houston Astros visit Clover Park. Bryan Abreu (1-0, 3.68 ERA) takes the mound against opener Jacob Barnes (0-1, 5.40 ERA). Barnes opens up for Joey Lucchesi for the 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY.


New York Mets: Carrasco’s Injury Overshadows 3-1 Loss to Nationals

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

Jed Lowrie may no longer steal money from the New York Mets, but his ghost still torments the organization. After recovering from an arm injury, Carlos Carrasco strained his right hamstring while conditioning. Carrasco is likely to be out for Opening Day, leaving the fifth starter job wide open.

As for the Mets on the field, their offense went quiet again in a 3-1 loss for the Nationals. Marcus Stroman continued to impress with five terrific innings. Stroman only allowed one run on two hits while striking out six Nats.

The Mets threw all major league ready arms after Stroman left the game. Jeurys Familia did not walk anyone but allowed a home run and a double during his one inning of work. Aaron Loup suffered a similar fate when he allowed a solo homer to Josh Bell in the seventh inning. Edwin Diaz and Trevor May were as good as advertised in their respective innings. Diaz worked out of a second and third jam while May pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning with a strikeout.

James McCann drove in the lone run in the first with a double that scored J.D. Davis all the way from first base. Kevin Pillar took advantage of batting second to record two more hits to push his spring average up to .348. Luis Guillorme continued to prove his worth with another stellar defensive play. This one came at shortstop with a sliding stop to his backhand to record the groundout.

On Friday, Taijuan Walker takes the mound for the second time this spring. Walker gets to pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals for another 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY.