- Full name Brian Michael McCann
- Born 02/20/1984 in Athens, GA
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Duluth
- Debut 06/10/2005
Drafted in the 2nd round (64th overall) by the Atlanta Braves in 2002 (signed for $750,000).
View Draft ReportThe son of former Marshall head coach Howard McCann and the brother of Gulf Coast (Fla.) CC third-base prospect Brad McCann, Brian is one of the top catchers in a draft that's quite thin at that position. Given his bloodlines, McCann has an advanced understanding of how to play the game. He's a good receiver with a strong, accurate arm, though he needs to work on his footwork and agility behind the plate. He has a quick bat and plenty of power potential, but gets tied up by breaking balls and hasn't fared as well against better pitching. He doesn't run well and will need to keep his lower half from getting too thick, but all in all shows considerable promise.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Despite playing at pitcher-friendly Myrtle Beach, McCann put together one of the best all-around seasons of any catcher in the minors. A Carolina League all-star, he tied for the organization lead in doubles and set a career high for homers. Older brother Brad, a third baseman, signed with the Marlins as a 2004 sixth-round pick, and his father Howard is the former head coach at Marshall. McCann has a sweet lefthanded swing and as much raw power as anyone in the organization. He employs a disciplined approach at the plate and makes solid contact. Drafted primarily for his bat, he has dedicated himself to improving behind the plate and was named the CL's best defensive catcher. He threw out 30 percent of basestealers with his strong, accurate arm and quick release. While pitchers like throwing to McCann, he needs to hone his skills behind the plate, particularly his footwork and agility. Offensively, he could draw more walks. He's a below-average runner. He has drawn comparisons to Eddie Taubensee, but the Braves say McCann has a higher ceiling. He'll spend 2005 at the new Double-A Mississippi affiliate and could reach Atlanta by late 2006.
The son of former Marshall head baseball coach Howard McCann and younger brother of Clemson third-base prospect Brad McCann, Brian put together a solid first full season in pro ball. He ranked second in the organization in RBIs and fourth in batting. Drafted for his offensive potential, McCann has a pretty swing and plenty of raw power. But he's far from one-dimensional, as he's just a tick behind Brayan Pena as the top defensive catcher in the system. McCann's arm strength is good and his accuracy is improving. The Braves also love his hard-nosed attitude behind the plate. McCann has made strides with his defense, but he's not a sure thing to remain at catcher. He'll need to continue to improve his footwork and agility. He also must stay in shape in order to remain strong throughout the season. He homered just once during the last two months of the season after going deep 11 times in the first three. He has much more offensive upside than projected 2004 starter Johnny Estrada, and the Braves are thrilled with the progress McCann has shown early in his career. He'll spend 2004 in high Class A.
The weakest position in the Braves organization is catcher, which could lead to a rapid ascent for McCann, provided the 64th overall pick in the 2002 draft remains behind the plate. McCann's calling card is his offensive potential, including some of the best raw power in the system. The son of former Marshall head coach Howard McCann, Brian has a textbook swing and an impressive approach to hitting. His quick wrists allow him to turn on any pitch and he drives the ball to all fields. He needs to make more consistent contact and do better against breaking balls. McCann has catch-and-throw tools, but he also has a thick lower body. He needs to improve his footwork and agility. He does a good job of calling a game. After signing late in the summer, McCann reported to the Gulf Coast League out of shape. The Braves say McCann can develop into a frontline receiver, though others see him as a power-hitting first baseman. Regardless, if his bat lives up to expectations he could move quickly up the ladder. He'll begin this year in low Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
McCann played well enough in his first two months in Double-A to merit an early-June promotion to the majors, where he filled in admirably for the injured Johnny Estrada. McCann's smooth lefthanded swing, advanced approach and plus power potential make him a safe bet to be a productive big league hitter for years to come, and he garners just as much acclaim for his defense. "I think he's a perennial all-star once he gets going," Snitker said. "I had never seen him play, but he was better than I was led to believe. I really liked him behind the plate, his hitting instincts, confidence, arm strength, game awareness. He's got a good feel for calling the game, he blocks balls, he does it all."
The son of former Marshall baseball coach Howard McCann and younger brother of Marlins third-base prospect Brad McCann, Brian continued to build on the momentum he set in his first full season last year at low Class A Rome and had one of the best all-around seasons in the minors among catchers. Drafted because of his bat and plenty of raw power, McCann is far from one-dimensional, and made a strong case for passing Brayan Pena as the best defensive catcher in the system. "Being 19 or 20 in this league, sometimes it's hard to go in there and take charge of a staff," Lovullo said. "But he's executed the Braves' game plan very well. He's an Eddie Taubensee type of guy to me, with that sweet, lefthanded swing."
McCann edged South Georgia backstop Mike Nixon as the league's top catching prospect. McCann is a pure hitter with gap power and above-average home run potential. He can get pull-conscious at times, but he showed the ability to adjust when pitchers gave him a steady diet of fastballs away. He made tremendous progress behind the plate and threw out 38 percent of basestealers. One manager said he consistently timed McCann's pop times to second base below 2.0 seconds. Some scouts said his thick lower half could hinder him behind the plate, but he impressed managers and allowed just 10 passed balls working with one of the league's best pitching staffs. "He's pretty accurate with his throws and he's going to get better with his blocking skills, but he doesn't move as well as you'd like back there," Beasley said. "He calls a good game. He's pretty smart back there."
McCann signed late after being drafted in the second round by the Braves, reported out of shape and didn't particularly distinguish himself either at the plate or behind it. Managers still were intrigued with his offensive potential. His calling card is his power. He can turn on any pitch. "He was the best hitting prospect in our division," Skeels said. "He had the best swing of anyone and an excellent overall approach to hitting. He already makes solid contact and hits lefthanders and righthanders equally well. McCann drew comparisons to Tigers prospect Eric Munson, the third overall pick in the 1999 draft. Munson started out as a catcher before shifting to first base and it's expected that McCann will follow a similar career path.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Atlanta Braves in 2005
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Carolina League in 2004