When Brian McCann signed with the New York Yankees he was almost universally considered a “good fit”. Both the media and his new teammates saw his left-handed swing and the short porch at Yankee Stadium and assumed McCann was in for some big seasons in the pinstripes.
So far the veteran backstop has posted a 3.5 WAR in his time with the Yankees; he’s been solid, but his offensive output has been declining instead of exploding due to the move from New York to Atlanta.
A logical conclusion to draw from this information is that the Yankee Stadium angle was overblown and his new home park hasn’t gifted him a bundle of cheap home runs. However, McCann has actually excelled at home just as the Yankees imagined when the signed him, especially this season.
It turns out he’s got the exact boost that one would expect and has undoubtedly benefited from some cheap round trippers like the one he hit off Jeremy Guthrie of the Kansas City Royals.
That’s all well and good, but the other side of the coin is scary. McCann has been brutal on the road since he joined the Yankees.
Even with McCann’s solid glove work behind the plate he’s been a liability when the Bronx Bombers take to air and travel the country.
All of these numbers are based on fairly small sample sizes, but where there’s smoke there’s fire on something like this. Perhaps when McCann returns from his minor foot injury he’ll begin to be productive regardless of where he’s hitting, but there’s no guarantee. McCann is responding to Yankee Stadium as expected, but it seems his offensive skills in general are slipping.
The 31-year-old is undoubtedly entering his decline phase, but it’s hard to know how fast he’s tumbling down Father Time’s hill. The slope can be steep for catchers and it’s possible his friendly home park is camouflaging his fall.
When McCann made Yankee Stadium his home prior to the 2014 season it seemed like a really good idea. Given how well he’s produced there it’s hard to argue with that premise. However, the right-field porch in New York was supposed to boost his already-robust production.
Right now it’s starting to look more like a crutch than a supplement.
(Photo: Noah K. Murray-USA Today Sports)