Hector Olivera Leaves Cuba
Second baseman Hector Olivera, one of the top players in Cuba, has defected to pursue a contract with a major league team, Baseball America has learned. Olivera, 29, ranked as […]
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GREENSBORO--Everyone knows what his younger brother can do, but you hardly hear anything about the elder sibling.
Originally drafted by the Phillies in the 22nd round in 2002 out of Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College, Brad McCann decided to head to Clemson. After two years as one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s best hitters, McCann wound up lasting until the sixth round in last year’s draft, where the Marlins plucked him.
Meanwhile, his little brother Brian--the two are just 14 months apart—has established himself as one of the brightest young prospects in the minors in the Braves' system. The McCanns were both heavily influenced by their father, Howard, who is a former head coach at Marshall.
Brad began his pro career at short-season Jamestown, where he batted .287/.339/.463 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 108 at-bats. This season at low Class A Greensboro, McCann already has two homers, but is hitting just .200/.273/.425 in 40 at-bats.
We caught up with the older McCann to discuss his relationship with Brian, being an offensive threat and the difference between the ACC and the New York-Penn League.
On his relationship with Brian, being two levels above him in the minors: I'm just so proud of him. We took different roads to where we wanted to get to. I thought the best thing for me was to go to college and it was. I had a great college season (in 2004, hitting .379 with 16 homers). I loved college and I'll never take it back. I wasn't ready to play out of high school. I got offered to play and I thought I was ready, but once I got to college I realized I wasn't. But with Brian, I couldn't be more proud. He had a lot of expectations coming out of high school, and he lived up to all of them.
On being a bat-first infielder: I feel like I can definitely play. I mean, my bat's going to speak. Whether I'm playing at third or wherever, as long as I'm in the lineup, it doesn't matter to me.
On the differences between the towns his baseball career has taken him: Oh, man--that was a heck of a culture shock right there. I mean, Jamestown (New York) . . . I don't recommend anyone going there anytime soon on a vacation. I mean, in Jamestown we had like five fans. It was a big culture shock coming from Clemson and even bigger compared to the atmosphere here (at Greensboro's brand new First Horizon Park). This place is unbelievable.
On competition between brothers: We're best friends. I talk to him every single day. I talked to him last night on his way home from a 13-hour bus trip, so he was wearing that on the back of the bus. We hang out every day in the offseason together. We're best friends. We do everything together. When we were little, there was a lot of competition against each other, but we've always been so close that we're always there for each other.
On his relationship with his dad: It's awesome. I talk to him every day too. Our family's a little crazy. It's all about baseball. I talk to my brother, my mom and my dad every day. Whenever you're struggling, it's good to have someone to talk to. My brother's been through this before. My dad's been through this before, so it's definitely to have that resource.
On who is the better hitter: (laughs) . . . Two different kind of hitters, I guess. It's tough to say that I'm a better hitter than him though. He's definitely proven himself. I still have a lot to prove here.
• Staying on the McCann tip, Brian had to leave the Mississippi Braves’ 2-1 loss last night against Huntsville after fouling the first pitch he saw off his right foot. His status is day-to-day.
• Good news for Mets fans, as the two biggest names on the high Class A St. Lucie roster will be returning soon, according to team officials. Outfielder Lastings Milledge, who injured his hand last Thursday diving for a ball, is expected to return to the lineup later this week, while righthander Philip Humber, the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, will get the start tomorrow after missing two weeks with a strained abdominal muscle.
• Jumped to Double-A after spending last season the South Atlantic League, Birmingham outfielder Jerry Owens struggled to adapt to Southern League pitchers early but is coming to life. Owens went 2-for-3 in Monday's 4-1 loss to Tennessee and has 11 hits in his last 22 at-bats. Owens, a second-round pick of the Expos in 2003 out of The Masters (Calif.) College, came over to the White Sox in the Alex Escobar deal. He is hitting .299/.347/.299 with four RBIs in 67 at-bats this season.
• It was a typical slugfest at Triple-A Colorado Springs last night as Tacoma destroyed the Sky Sox 21-7 on a night where not only was the air thin, but the wind was blowing out at 24 mph. Every pitcher was rocked, with the exception of Felix Hernandez. The 19-year-old righthander went five innings, struck out six and allowed only one earned run. The other eight pitchers combined to allow 27 runs in 13 innings. The wind helped another Mariners' prospect as Chris Snelling hit his first home run since August 2, 2003.
• After going 0-2, 6.48 in three starts with the Giants this season, Jerome Williams has been sent down to Fresno. "You worry about the kid because he's been through a lot," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti told BA correspondent Andy Baggarly. "You see a strong, healthy kid, full of life, but you don't know what's going on inside. You hope he comes back fresh-minded and ready to go."
• Craig Brazell has awesome raw power, but yesterday it was downright ridiculous. The Triple-A Norfolk outfielder was all over a 1-0 fastball from Joe Beimel that hit off the Fox-50 building in right field--nearly 500 feet away. Now in his third year in Triple-A after short stints in the big leagues, Brazell still needs to hone his plate discipline. And though it's early, it is evident that he's trying to be more selective at the plate. He topped the century mark in strikeouts the last two seasons, but has only whiffed eight times in 38 at-bats this year. Brazell hit two homers in a 9-4 win Monday against Durham and is hitting .327/.353/.735 with five homers and 13 RBIs overall.
• Double-A West Tenn lefthander Rich Hill dominated a hot-hitting Montgomery lineup last night, allowing just one earned run on three hits over seven innings. Hill, the Cubs' fourth-round pick in 2002 out of Michigan, struck out 14 and walked one. Hill, who has better pure stuff that fellow Cubs lefties Renyel Pinto and Sean Marshall, is 1-1, 5.82 with 31 strikeouts in 22 innings this season.
• While the starting pitching at Double-A Carolina has been outstanding, don't overlook what closer Chris Resop has done. Resop, the Marlins' fourth-round pick in 2001 out of Barron Collier High in Naples, Fla., is a converted outfielder who hit just .193 in 269 career at-bats, never making it above Greensboro. He was reborn as a righthanded reliever during the 2003 season and the results so far this season have been stellar. Resop picked up his seventh save Monday in the Mudcats' 3-2 win against Jacksonville. He's yet to allow a run and has given up seven hits in eight innings, striking out eight while not allowing a walk.
• There’s just something about those Astros Double-A outfielders. Last year, Willy Taveras led the Texas League in hitting and stolen bases, and this year, Josh Anderson is looking to do the same. Anderson recorded his fourth three-hit effort in six games while swiping his league-leading 12th base last night as Corpus Christi beat Frisco 11-5. Anderson’s .359 average places him sixth in the Texas League. A 2003 fourth-round pick out of Eastern Kentucky, Anderson led the minor leagues with 79 stolen bases last season.
• Tigers outfielder Brent Clevlen, who returned to high Class A Lakeland after a disappointing .223-6-50 campaign in 2004, went deep for the fourth time in six games in the Tigers 10-0 shutout of Dunedin. For Clevlen, it was his sixth home run of the year, and he needed just 17 games to match last year’s output in 117 games. Righthander Matt Vasquez pitched a five-hit shutout for the Tigers in the Florida State League’s first complete game of the season, continuing to be effective without missing many bats. Vasquez struck out just two on the night, and improved to 3-0, 2.52 despite striking out just nine in 25 innings of work.
• The Brewers got a fine performance from two of their top prospects playing for low Class A West Virginia in the South Atlantic League. Josh Wahpepah allowed one hit and no runs over five innings while striking out six to lower his season ERA to 3.71. Mark Rogers, the fifth overall pick in 2004, relieved Wahpepah and struck out three in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. The Brewers are taking it slow with Rogers, working with him on getting better extension out front to improve his command.