James McCann’s struggles in Mets first season plate mirror


PHOENIX — James McCann was beaten by a pitch to drive in the Mets’ first inning of the season. It’s been hard to find a notable offensive contribution since then from the plummeting receiver.

Scorching starts from Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso, among others, helped cover McCann, but the .120/.233/.160 slash line he introduced Friday night at Chase Field was ungainly — even compared to his disappointing first season with the Mets.

“Just a slow start, honestly,” McCann said before the Mets opened a three-game series against the Diamondbacks. “I made some adjustments. I’m still working on some tweaks in addition to a shortened spring training, running out of time in spring training, so I feel like there’s been a bit of a catch-up period.

McCann missed a week of spring training due to back pain. It was an illness that forced him onto the injured list last season, before which he arrived on a four-year contract worth $40.6 million.

James McCann
USA TODAY Sports

If McCann was knocking, he’d probably be playing almost every day. But his offensive shortcomings meant extra playing time for Tomas Nido, who endured his own offensive struggles early on (he entered Friday with a .158/.150./.158 slash line). McCann received 30 plate appearances to Nido’s 21.

Behind the plate, the Mets are much happier with the results they received from McCann, whose field framing ranks in the 89th percentile, according to Baseball Savant. McCann had also kicked out two of the three runners who tried to fly against him.

“It’s something I’m proud of that my game separates attack from defense because at the end of the day I know how I can impact the game on the defensive side of things will always be more big than what I can do offensively,” McCann said. “Even on a big offensive day you get five at bats, but defensively I’m in for 150 shots or whatever that day .”

McCann started slow last season and never got off track, finishing with a .232/.294/.349 slash with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs in 121 games. He said there was no correlation between the two seasons.

“Last year was last year,” he said. ” There are ups and downs. There are a few things that I cleaned up from last year that, although I didn’t see any results, I’m happy with. I have the direction to the plate. Last year, I had no coherent direction.

“I was real rotation coming off balls, not staying on balls that I should, which led to a higher ball-on-the-ground percentage and all sorts of other things that were sub-par of that. products, so despite the lack of results at the start of the season my direction has been better and that is one of the things that I have tried to clean up and will continue to refine.

Until he can get a few more hits, McCann will try to avoid looking at his numbers on the scoreboard.

“I learned very young in my career, playing with Torii Hunter, the difference between going 1 for 20 in April and doing it in July,” McCann said. “In April you feel bad, but in July you’ve dropped 10-15 runs off your batting average, so the hardest part of starting slow isn’t chasing the numbers. It’s trust. to the process over 162 matches.

New York Post

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