Last season was essentially a lost year for Marlins infielder Brad McCann.
After hitting .295/.355/.552 with 28 homers, 35 doubles and 106 RBIs in 2005 at low Class A Greensboro, the 2004 sixth-round pick out of Clemson found out quickly that the parks in the Florida State League aren’™t quite as cozy as the Grasshoppers’ First Horizon Park.
McCann saw his numbers dip to .231/.288/.360 at high Class A Jupiter last season, a level he’™s repeating this year.
And repeating it well so far in 2007.
Through just a small sample of at-bats, McCann has two homers (he hit 12 all of last season), has five hits over his last three games and is hitting .400. A pair of those hits came in Jupiter’s 4-0 win against Brevard County on Thursday.
“He came (to Jupiter) and it’™s just not as favorable as Greensboro is to hit in,” Marlins hitting coordinator John Mallee said. “He’™s a gap-to-gap type guy in his approach. When he’™s going good, he’™s driving the ball to right-center and reacting in. Well here, he’™d be driving balls to right-center and they’™d be getting caught’"they wouldn’™t be going anywhere because it’™s just not a favorable park to hit in. And not to make an excuse, but as a result of that, I think he changed his approach, thinking he had to try to pull the ball if he wanted to hit for some power.
“When he did that, he started chasing balls out of the zone because he had to cheat a little bit. And that took away his strength of staying closed, staying on the ball and reacting.”
In terms of lost seasons, Marlins first baseman/catcher Gaby Sanchez’™s 2006 hit a major bump in the road last June when he went down for six weeks with a broken hand, after he was hitting .317 with 14 bombs in 189 at-bats. The 2005 fourth-round pick returned to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in late July, then batted just .182 for the Hammerheads before the Marlins shut him down again. He was sent to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost time.
Sanchez has started 2007 slowly, hitting .250 with a pair of extra-base hits, but he has certain intangibles that set him apart from most hitters in the FSL.
“He has good power and he can hit for average; he was just banged up a lot last year,” Mallee said. “But he’™s a great hitter with incredible discipline. He can go outside the zone and put the barrel on the ball, which makes him a lot different than a lot of people.”