The New York Mets can relate to the Houston Astros’ catcher position this season and see a solution to their own catcher questions. The Houston Astros had the best pitching staff in the American League this season by a healthy margin, and it got them to the World Series in dominating fashion. So the Mets should see the Astros and how much they value run prevention and find James McCann as an obvious contributor for the 2023 Mets.
Mets catcher James McCann had a similar year to Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, and nobody is discussing this.
Maldonado was at the plate in a key situation in a tie game in Game 1 of the World Series on Friday night, and John Smoltz discussed on the FOX broadcast about how the Astros found his offensive struggles not an issue as long as he contributes as a leader for their pitching staff and in their clubhouse.
Maldonado hit just .186 for the Astros during the regular season with 15 home runs, but he is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, as his pitchers have a 2.91 ERA when he catches, and had the seventh best catcher pop time among catchers with 10 or more throws to second base, according to Baseball Savant.
So, what about McCann? He hit .195 with just three home runs in 2022, but he was far and away the team’s best catcher for run prevention. In 2022, Mets’ pitchers had a 3.20 ERA with McCann behind the plate, with a .224 batting average and .633 OPS against.
Mets pitchers had worse stats last season with other catchers: When Tomas Nido caught them, they had a 3.65 ERA, a .237 average and .686 OPS against. And with Patrick Mazeika, they had a 4.23 ERA, a .254 average, and .727 OPS against.
McCann is better equipped to serve as a mentor for Francisco Alvarez.
The Mets are expecting big things from Francisco Alvarez as a Met, both next season and in the future, and chances are Alvarez will split time next season between the catcher and designated hitter positions.
Alvarez will be an offense-first catcher to start out next year, and it will take time for him to fully develop as a pitch caller and pitch receiver, so having the best and most experienced catcher will best suit the Mets for 2023 and Francisco Alvarez beyond 2023.
And even if McCann winds up injured for periods of time, it would allow Alvarez to gain experience catching, and it allows someone like Pete Alonso to serve as a designated hitter at times.