White Sox: James McCann Proving to Be More Valuable Catcher
White Sox catcher having a good start to the season and proving to be more valuable than the team’s current starting catcher.
When the Chicago White Sox announced the signing of James McCann to a one-year deal this past offseason, majority of fans were quite upset and vocal about it on social media. McCann was coming off a disappointing season with the Detroit Tigers in 2018 and not many saw him being any good in 2019.
Many White Sox fans were upset the franchise didn’t target other free agent catchers such as Yasmani Grandal or Martin Maldonado. Given the White Sox missed out on many more free agents this past offseason, the signing of McCann was never going to go over well with a certain portion of the fanbase.
Fast forward to three weeks into this season and McCann is proving to be the more valuable catcher for the White Sox. McCann has certainly been a better contributor early into this season than White Sox starting catcher Welington Castillo. On Monday night against the Baltimore Orioles, McCann’s performance was the storyline of that game.
Through 10 games played, McCann has a slash line of .316/.366/.526 with two home runs and five RBIs. For Castillo, he’s hitting just .167 through 14 games played. This surely isn’t what the Sox expected when they signed Castillo as a free agent before the 2018 season. For Wednesday’s series finale against the Orioles, McCann will be the starting catcher while Castillo will be the designated hitter.
McCann will also bat fourth. If McCann can continue performing well offensively, he might overtake Castillo as the Sox starting catcher for this season. McCann’s hot start to the season could cool off eventually. He’s a career .241 hitter and has never finished a season hitting higher than .264 which came in his first full year in MLB in 2015.
The Sox do have some catching prospects in the minors in Zack Collins and Seby Zavala but they might not be ready to be starting major league catchers this season or even in 2020. If McCann can have a solid season behind the plate and offensively, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Sox to sign him to another deal to keep him around for a few more seasons.
Sox fans might not have been initially happy when the franchise signed McCann, but they should be thankful that he’s produced well early. Despite the 9-13 start to this season, there are many positives for this Sox team and McCann has proven to be one of those positive stories early.