James McCann: Former Mets Catcher (2021 - 2022)

 James Thomas McCann was born on June 13th, 1990, in Santa Barbra, California. The six-foot three catcher was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox but decided to go to the University of Arkansas instead. 

As a youth player, he was a teammate of the Mets Jeff McNeil.

College: He became the team captain for the Razorbacks & hit one of their most memorable HRs. It was a walk off to beat LSU at Baum Stadium. The next year he was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award.  

He played for the 2011 US National team in the World Cup & PanAm Games. That year he was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the second round. He played four seasons in the Tigers minor leagues, getting a 2014 September call up, playing nine games.

He would be the Tigers starting catcher for the next four years. 

Trivia: In Spring Training of 2015, he gained some notoriety after he fouled off a ball that struck a bird sitting on the backstop screen.  

On April 15th, he hit his first career HR, it was an inside the parker at Target Field in Minnesota.

On May 21st, he hit his first HR over the fence, it was a walk off HR in a win over the Houston Astros. 

On June 28th, he hit another walk off HR, this one against the Chicago White Sox. Overall, in 114 games, he batted .264 with 29 multi-hit games, 7 HRs 18 doubles & 41 RBIs.

Defensively he set a modern-day record by starting a career with most consecutive games, without committing an error. The streak of 136 games, went into May of 2016. He also threw out 41% of would be base stealers, earning him the name of "Macannon".

In 2016 his average fell to .221, but defensively he threw out 45% of would-be base stealers (2nd in

the AL) & turned a league leading nine double plays. He would come in second in throwing out base stealers for three straight years.

In 2017, he struggled at the plate, batting under .200 through the end of June. But he then batted near .400 in July, with a 14-game hit streak into August, driving in 11 runs. 

On July 2nd, he hit a HR & had a four RBI Day in a Tigers losing effort. On July 30th, he had a three hit, three RBI day, hitting a HR in a 13-1 romp over the Astros. On August 12th, he hit a grand slam HR off Jose Berrios in a 12-11 win over the Minnesota Twins. That day he drove in five runs overall. 

He closed out the month with a three run HR in Colorado. That year he hit 13 HRs with 14 doubles & 49 RBIs while batting .253.

His numbers fell of in 2018 batting just .220 as his run production dropped as well. He was still strong behind the plate, catching 114 games. In December of 2018, McCann signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox.

White Sox Career: He had a great start to his Sox career, batting .359 in hi the month of April. On April 22nd, he hit a three run HR at Baltimore, with a three hit four RBI Day. In May he drove in six runs over a nine-game span. In the last two weeks of June, he hit safely in ten of twelve games, with 15 hits, five multi-hit games, bashing 5 HRs with13 RBIs.

2019 All Star: At the All Star break he was batting .316 with 9 HRs & 30 RBIs. In the All-Star Game, played in Cleveland, he got one at bat, collecting a single off Brandon Woodruff in the 4-3 AL win.

In August he drove in 17 runs, which included three games where he had three RBIs or more. On August 16th, he a grand slam HR, leading his team to a 7-2 win over the Angels in Anaheim. 

On September 3rd, with the White Sox down 5-2 in the top of the 8th inning, he tied up the game with a three run HR off Carlos Carrasco. 

On September 26th, he hit another three HR in an 8-0 win over the Indians. He finished the year with career bests in most categories, batting .273 with 120 hits, 26 doubles 18 HRs 30 walks & 60 RBIs. 

Behind the plate he turned 8 double plays (2nd in the AL) making 884 put outs (4th in the AL)  throwing out 17 would be base stealers (5th in the AL).

In the Covid 19 shortened 2020 season, he played in 31 games batting .289 with 7 HRs 3 doubles & 15 RBIs in 97 at bats. He began the season with HRs in first two games. On September 9th, he hit two HRs driving in 4 runs in an 8-1 win at Pittsburgh. 

He even closed out the season with a HR on the last day in a 9-5 win over his old White Sox teammates. He went 1-6 in the AL Wild Card series loss to Oakland.

In December of 2020 he signed on as a free agent with the New York Mets.

Mets Career-2021: On Opening Day McCann drove in the first Mets run of the season with an RBI single off the Phils Matt Moore. 

On April 14th, he collected three hits & hit his first Mets HR, coming in a 5-1 Mets win over the Phillies at Citi Field.

On May 2nd, McCann began a stretch where drove in runs in three straight games, two resulting in Mets wins. McCann was splitting time with Tomas Nido who was doing a good job & McCann was struggling at the plate. By in late May he began to turn things around. 

On May 17th, he broke a 7th inning, scoreless tie with the Atlanta Braves, with an RBI double off Jacob Webb. Five batters later, Kevin Pillar was brutally hit in the face with a Webb fastball, he hit the ground & had blood pouring out of his nose. 

He suffered multiple nasal fractures & miraculously returned ten days later. McCann scored with the bases loaded in what was the game winning run.

By May 24th, McCann & Francisco Lindor started hitting & helped the first place Mets through their injuries. That night, he hit his second HR & five days later he hit his third in a 13-2 Mets win over the Braves in Atlanta. 

McCann started out June with a
bang, and would bat .500 from Saturday May 29th to June 3rd. 

On June 1st, in Arizona, after Edwin Diaz had blown a save, McCann doubled in the 10th inning to give the Mets the lead back. Unfortunately, Trevor May lost it in the bottom of the inning. 

On June 2nd, he hit a 1st inning three run HR & later singled in another run, helping the Mets beat the d-backs 7-6. It has been the only four RBI night of his Mets career. The next night, in San Diego, McCann hit another HR in an exciting game where the Mets came up short 4-3.

On June 6th, he hit his third HR in four games, topping off the Mets 6-2 win in San Diego, with a two run blast. He collected two more hits, with an RBI in the Mets June 9th, 14-1 win on Baltimore.

On joining the Mets he has had a front row seat, in catching Jacob deGrom & his 0.56 ERA thru June 11th, 2021, before deGrom went down.

Quotes- James McCann: "deGrom is on another level. He might be from another planet."

On June 29th, the Mets were down to the Braves 3-0 in the 7th inning in Atlanta. After Dom Smith & Kevin Pillar got on board, McCann hit a three run HR off Charlie Morton tying up the game. They went on to a 4-3 win.

On July 19th, he came in to bat for Tomas Nido in the top of the 8th inning, with the Mets down 8-7 facing Josh Osich & the Reds. McCann hit a two run HR putting the Mets ahead, he later drove in a run with an RBI single in the 10th putting the Mets ahead once again. As the bullpen blew that lead as well, the Mets finally went on to a 15-11 victory in the 11th inning.

As August approached the '22 Mets were still in first place but soon faded, they were two games
out when McCann went down with injury for two weeks, returning in September. By then the Mets were at .500 still only three games out, but things were looking grim. They would finish 77-85 in third place.

In the September subway series, in which the Mets took two of three, McCann drove in two runs in the first game where the Mets won 10-3, then hit a HR the next night in the Met loss. 

On September 28th his fielder's choice, scored Pete Alonso in the bottom of the 9th inning, for a walk off win over the Miami Marlins.

For 2021 McCann played in 121 games, batting .232 with 10 HRs 12 doubles 29 runs scored 46 RBIs, a .294 on base %. He was more successful as a pinch hitter, batting .364 (4-11) with a HR two doubles & five RBIs. 

Defensively behind the plate, McCann caught 107 games, catching 17 of 63 stolen base attempts (27%) with his 17 caught stealing 8th most in the majors. He played five games at first base as well.

2022: On opening day, he collected two hits & drove in a run in the 5-2 Mets win. On April 22nd, he hit a game tying two run HR in the 7th inning, leading to a 5-4 Mets win over Arizona. 

Overall, at the plate he was struggling, never getting over the .200 through mid-May. The 31-year-old catcher was dealing with wrist soreness for most of the 2022 season, in mid-May it was found he had a broken bone & needed wrist surgery. 

He underwent successful surgery on May 16th but was to lose six weeks or more of action. He returned on June 25th & got a hit in his first game back getting him to the .200 mark for the first time that year. He dropped right below that mark until mid-September.

On July 7th he hit a three run HR off the Marlins Daniel Castano in a 10-0 Mets win, it took him two months before he hit another HR, coming on October 5th in a 9-2 win over the Nationals.

With catcher Francisco Alvarez tearing up the minor leagues, as the team's best prospect it seemed McCann's days were numbered. But the Mets did not bring him up until September. 

McCann struggled at the plate all season as he finished up batting .195 with 6 doubles 3 HRs & 18 RBIs with a .538 OPS playing in 61 games. Behind the plate he posted a .993 fielding % & threw out 24% of would-be base stealers.

2022 Post Season: He went 0-1 in the NLWC loss to the San Diego Padres playing the last two innings of Game #1.

At the end of the season, he was granted free agency & signed on with the Baltimore Orioles for 2023 where he played back up to Adley Rutschman & is used as a DH.

James met his wife Jessica (Cox) in college. The two were married in November 2014. Together they have a set of twin boys & live in 
Nashville, Tennessee.

Personal: McCann & his wife are devout Christians. James does not drink alcohol, believing that it's poison to an athlete's body.

McCann in an avid hunter & participates in an annual pre-season duck hunt along the Mississippi flyway.


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