There are more benefits for the New York Mets with the James McCann signing than most realize.
For weeks, if not months, most New York Mets scribes, bloggers, and fans have been discussing the benefits of signing either James McCann or J.T. Realmuto. Unfortunately, all of them have been focusing on the wrong comparisons. Let me explain.
There is no doubt that the Mets needed to upgrade at three major positions this offseason in order to be considered a true contender for the World Series in 2021. Those positions are catcher, center field, and starting pitching. They not only have to sign the right players to help them achieve that goal but must also be financially prudent. I can only assume that new Mets owner Steve Cohen still has $14 billion in his accounts is because he has been just that during his lifetime. That’s how you achieve billionaire status.
Let’s stop comparing McCann and Realmuto and concentrate on what really matters. Let’s compare James McCann, our newest catcher, to Wilson Ramos, the outgoing starting catcher, and see what kinds of upgrades McCann provides.
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Over the past two years, McCann has played in 149 games to Ramos’ 186. Ramos has batted 615 times to 536 AB for McCann. Let’s see how their stats compare to see if there is really an upgrade at that position.
During the period including 2019-2020 statistics, Ramos batted .276. McCann was at .276. Obviously, there was no difference in their batting average so let’s see about their production.
Let’s look at their power comparisons. According to MLB stats, during this same time period, 19.6% of McCann’s hits were doubles, 12.8% were home runs and he averaged .50 RBI per game. Ramos’ comparable numbers were 14.7% were doubles, 11.2% were home runs and he averaged .47 RBI per game played.
For this comparison, triples were not used as the numbers for each player were negligible as speed is not part of their game.
These offensive numbers for McCann translate to an increase of 35% more doubles, 14.3% more home runs per at-bats, and 6.3% more RBI averaged per game played. All of this in 37 fewer games and 79 fewer at-bats. Add this to McCann’s higher slugging percentage, OBP and OPS and hopefully having a full season of 162 games in 2021 the New York Mets have upgraded their offense at catcher significantly for next season.
Let’s add in that Ramos is a poor defensive catcher and it can easily be assumed we have upgraded defensively. So what does that really mean?
By committing only $10 million per year to McCann instead of approximately $20 million+ for Realmuto we have improved our catching situation compared to where we were at this time last year and didn’t have to catch the big fish to do so.
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Therefore, by being financially prudent we have upgraded one of our weaker, if not our weakest position, allowing the Mets to use those savings elsewhere to potentially upgrade at other positions of weakness. You see, we didn’t need Realmuto, we needed to upgrade our production at catcher which is what was accomplished. This could be the start of something special.