It’s funny how the most underrated player in the game comes from one of the best organizations in the game. Yes, the Braves. Brian McCann to me, gets overshadowed when discussing the games elite catchers because if some guy named Joe Mauer. Now, that is just talking about catchers. Brian McCann has a bat and glove as good as any catcher in recent history. Not only that, but certain saber metrical stats compare him with some of the greats, such as Yogi Berra.
River Avenue Blues’ writer Mike Axisa, who is a great writer and writes for MLBTradeRumors as well, made a statement the other day by comparing Brian McCann and Yogi Berra in a WARGraph. Mike was also the one who started the whole “Brian McCann is underrated thing.” What is a WARGraph you ask? Only one of the coolest things around. WARGraphs let you compare up to 4 players whether they are active or retired and shows the cumulative WAR (Wins Above Replacement) over time. Mike compared Yogi Berra to Brian McCann and the graph came out like this:
So that inspired me to expand the search. I added Mickey Cochrane and Bill Dickey to the list. Both of whom are Hall of Fame catchers, such as the likes of Yogi Berra and possibly in the future, Brian McCann. As you can see, their cumulative WAR by age is nearly identical all the way through to the end of their careers.
Tell me that isn’t awesome? Mike’s point was that McCann through his 1st six seasons was better than Berra. Well I just kept it going by proving that McCann has been better than two other Hall of Famers through his first six seasons.
Back to Brian, imagine where the Bravos team would be without him. We’re talking about a guy who hits for average and power, plays very good defense behind the plate, and even posted a 5.3 WAR in ’10. All of those are obvious when talking about McCann, except possibly the WAR, but the homegrown catcher still gets overlooked among players in the game, not just catchers. So the point I’m trying to make is, can Brian McCann be viewed as the #1 most underrated player in Major League Baseball? Shin Soo Choo might have something to say about that, but how often has Choo had his knees crushed behind the plate 130-150 times per year? How many catchers post a career OBP of .360 while catching a tremendous young pitching staff?
I’m looking for McCann to continue his great career in a Braves uniform and if history repeats himself as seen with three other comparable catchers who wound up in Cooperstown, McCann will have a tremendous career even if he remains one of the more underappreciated players in Major League Baseball.
These are 20 facts that you didn’t know. Trust me, you definetly didn’t know. Not that these are in any order, but you can rank them for yourself. I think all are equally interesting. Enjoy!
Matt Kemp had a -0.24 UZR in 2010. Horrible season for Matt Kemp. I’m not going to say that Ned Colletti and the Dodgers management pressure didn’t have anything to do with this, but if he didn’t have that final week surge, he might be jealous of Melky Cabrera’s season.
Alexi Casilla has had the last AB of the regular season 2 out of the last 3 seasons. Good news is the one of those was a walk off that got his team, the Twins, in to the postseason, but the other was a game ending fly out that got the White Sox in to the postseason.
Ray King holds the record for most consecutive games without issuing an intentional walk. One of my favorite pitchers of all time. Not that this stat is found in record books or in the Hall of Fame, but I thought you’d be interested in knowing this.
Joe Inglett threw a knuckle ball at 54 MPH this season, and recorded an out. According to Fangraphs, this is true, but he can thank his incredible pitching staff for making that possible.
Darren Oliver was the first American league pitcher to pitch to a National league batter not including the world series or All-Star game. Ironically, this game was a matchup between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants.
The 1990 Twins executed 2 triple plays in a game. If anybody was wondering, I don’t think Bengie Molina was on the opposing team. Perhaps the turf at the Metrodome helped the Twins fielders out.
Johnny Burnett, in 1932, got 9 hits in a game. Cesar Izturis should take note. Even though this game was 18 innings, 9 hits is nearly impossible. I guess they didn’t believe in intentional walks back then.
Zack Greinke in 2010 was 11th in WAR among qualified pitchers. His value is extremely high which is something people don’t realize. He is in line to bring at least 2 superstar players back to KC plus two other extremely good young players.
The only time in history that two sets of siblings played in the same infield in the same game were the Larkin’s and the Boone’s in the mid 90’s. On a side note, Al Leiter was once scheduled to face his brother on the Phillies, Marc, but a rainout thought differently
The Texas Rangers selected both Anthony Ranaudo and Drew Pomeranz in the 2007 draft, both of whom obviously did not sign. Most of that draft for the Rangers was used to acquire Cliff Lee, Christian Guzman, and Bengie Molina. I do have a feeling though that signing Pomeranz and Ranuado would have been a tad smart.
Before every game, umpires must rub around 6 dozen balls to get rid of the shine off the balls. This is obviously so Ken Macha wont march out of the dugout and ask the umpires, who are apparently shoe polish experts, to determine if there is polish on the ball, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds B.J. Upton, and David Wright all played for the same high school team at the same time. That’s like 8474683 home runs every game right?
The Cleveland Indians’ 1999 draft produced only 3 players who have gone on to play Major League Baseball; Jeff Baker, Fernando Cabrera, and Ben Francisco. All of the others are what we call “duds” and this draft was widely considered the worst draft by a single team in MLB history.
B.J. Upton’s real name is “Melvin Emmanuel Upton.” This is just me, but M.E. Upton doesn’t exactly have that ring to it.
Kila Ka’aihue has a brother in the A’s organization, Kala Ka’aihue. Kala was a dominant minor league first baseman back in 2006 but everything went downhill from there
When Charlie Kerfeld, whose uniform number was 37, learned that Jim Deshaies had signed for $110,000 in 1987. He asked for and received $110,037.37 plus 37 boxes of orange Jell-O.
A “shuuto”, a Japanese gyroball type pitch, is a backward slider, which is horrible for the elbow but used prominently by japanese pitchers. Dice-K apparently throws one, as does Hisashi Iwakuma. Japanese pitchers though have 10 pitches in their arsenal though I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more have a history of throwing one.
As part of his contract, Tim Beckham had to personalize every Baseball that he signs. On the other hand, Hanley Ramirez is not allowed to sweetspot any ball he signs.
Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross are the only two players in Major League Baseball who bat right and throws left. You would expect there to be more, but I bet there are more left handed batters who throw right.
Kauffman Stadium has the second largest jumbo-tron in sports. Which venue has the largest? Well your going to have to figure it out yourself, I don’t give answers away like that, but it rhymes with Schmallas Schmowboys Stadium.