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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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McCann's peers salute his All-Star status

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ST. LOUIS -- Less than four complete seasons into his Major League career, Brian McCann has already gained four consecutive All-Star selections and the opportunity to serve as Team USA's catcher during this year's World Baseball Classic.

Still, as McCann gathered with the other National League All-Stars for a news conference in St. Louis on Monday morning, he was still that wide-eyed, humble youngster who seemingly hasn't grasped the reality that he truly has established himself as one of the game's top catchers.

"I don't put myself in any category," McCann said. "I'll let other people put me in certain categories. I'm going to go out and do my best every single night, and if people want to put me in that category, that's fine. But if they don't, that's fine, too."

While the fans haven't yet provided McCann the backing he's needed to gain his first All-Star start, fellow NL players and managers have certainly noticed the Braves catcher's talents and shown their support with the votes that have allowed him to experience each of the past four Midsummer Classics.

"I think he's one of the most underappreciated players in the game," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "To be able to do what he does catching-wise and still find a way to hit and be as productive as he's been, [it] says a lot about him. I don't think he's gotten the credit for what he's done."

Provided the always-loyal support of the St. Louis faithful, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina easily garnered enough fans' votes to start this year's All-Star Game. But based purely on offensive numbers, McCann was the clear-cut choice to be the Senior Circuit's starting catcher.

McCann leads all NL backstops with a .298 batting average and an .862 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) this season. The fact that he ranks second in homers and RBIs is a product of the fact that blurred vision in his left eye limited him to just 13 games before May 8.

"He hurts us," Phillies second baseman Chase Utley said. "He's obviously a good defensive catcher and he can swing the bat, so I do look at him as one of the best catchers in baseball."

Dating back to the beginning of 2006 -- his first full season in the big leagues, McCann leads all MLB catchers in home runs, slugging percentage, doubles, extra-base hits and RBIs. He notched his second NL Silver Slugger Award last year, and despite his early-season vision problems, the 25-year-old catcher has positioned himself to gain a third one.

"Whether it's a lefty or a righty on the mound, he's good," Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino said. "No matter who is facing him in the box, he's comfortable and he has a great swing."
McCann's peers salute his All-Star status | braves.com: News



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