As previously noted, despite just one month since donning a Mets uniform for the first time, James McCann is already getting to know his teammates really well. “I need to have a relationship with each guy.”
On teammate, Jacob deGrom, he noted that their relationship has grown. “Jake’s a phenomenal guy. … he gets his work in and he works hard.” However, it’s McCann’s familiarity with other key members of the Mets pitching staff that stand out in his interview.
On SP Marcus Stroman, he mentioned, “He’s as athletic as they come on the mound. He makes adjustments from pitch-to-pitch. He understands how his mechanics work, how his pitches work together. He’s a guy that I look forward to catching because he does have so many weapons to get hitters out with,” referring to his split-change and slider.”
Similarly, McCann complimented the great strides SP Taijuan Walker has made despite entering camp late, following his two-year, $20 million deal. “… [He’s got] a good four-pitch mix [with] a good feel for all of his pitches. He understands how his pitches work. He’s very intelligent, and his work ethic is off the charts. … I think he’s going to be a guy that eats a lot of innings for us and throws the ball really well for us this year.”
However, he reserved his highest praise for right-handed reliever Miguel Castro, who the catcher said was coming into his own. “He is not a fun at bat,” McCann quipped, speaking about his previous face-offs in the batter’s box against the former American League pitcher.
“He’s coming at you with that 3-quarter arm slot. … He’s got such long arms, it’s like he’s handing the ball to the catcher when he releases it. And he’s shown the ability to control all pitches in Spring Training. He’s thrown his slider and his changeup extremely well. And then anytime you’re throwing 97-98 [MPH], it’s difficult on a hitter, especially with the sink that he’s got and then the release point he has.”
In touting certain pieces in the Mets pen, he also mentioned Edwin Díaz’s improvements – another key arm that will make or break the Mets bullpen down the stretch. “He gets swing-and-misses at pitches right down the middle like nobody else in baseball.”
In a separate March 10 interview with Moose and Maggie on WFAN Sports Radio, new Mets reliever Trevor May also commented on his new battery mate’s positive influence on the pitching staff.
“He takes that role of kind of the pilot of the team. A good catcher, that is kind of the role that they take. … You get that right away when you talk to McCann. He’s thinking through, he’s got his what he needs to know with every pitcher, he was approaching everyone early, making sure that he was kind of getting the basics down, and then feeling it out as we go out there. … He’s on top of his stuff and that’s amazing to see.”
May’s not alone in thinking that. When reminded by Coleman about his manager calling him a great guy, McCann admitted, “That does make me feel good to hear that. That in my short time, I’ve been able to have an impact like that. My opinion as being the catcher, I have a relationship with each and every pitcher, I have a relationship with each and every hitter. I’m kind of that bridge between the pitchers and the hitters. Anytime that the catcher can be kind of that general … that guy that can lead and be somebody that young guys can bounce things off. You know, it goes a long way for the team at the end of the day.”