Brian McCann should continue attacking sinkers

While the New York Yankees have been suffering through a myriad of struggles at the plate, catcher Brian McCann has been able to produce at a pretty high level. The veteran catcher has a team-high .275 TAv, an OPS of .805, the second-highest mark of any Yankee, and has been far and away the team’s most valuable player with a 7.1 VORP.

Throughout McCann’s career, his power has been an asset and isn’t diminishing quite yet. His hard-hit percentages are still north of 31 percent, which has been the case for him since his second year in the majors all the way back in 2006. Additionally, his home run to fly ball rate is at a lofty 14.3 percent to this point in the season, which, too, has been a constant for him as he’s achieved a double digit mark in nearly every season of his career.

One more constant for McCann during his career has been his ability to smack sinkers with the best of them. According to BrooksBaseball, McCann’s BAA against sinkers since the start of the 2007 season is a hearty .291, and his slugging percentage sits at .482. The only pitch that he has succeeded against more, with at least 150 at-bats, is the cutter, which he’s .297 and .527 against.

To no surprise, Brian McCann has continued to prosper against sinkers in 2016. His .438 batting average when facing the pitch is second only to his mark of .455 against changeups this season, but what’s most impressive has been McCann’s ability to mash the pitch. He has slugged a lofty .750 against the sinker through May 12 which is far superior to the mark against every other pitch that has been dished out to McCann in the early goings of this season.

It’s comforting to see McCann succeed against the sinker in the early part of 2016 after he saw rare struggles against it in 2015, hitting just .205 against from bell to bell. It marked the second straight season in which McCann hit below .250 vs. the sinker after hitting .234 while slugging .405 in 2014.

So, is McCann getting back to form against sinkers? It would certainly appear that way. While it is merely just mid-May he has fared worlds better against the sinker than he did for all of 2015 and 2014 and is looking like the hitter he was against the particular pitch for much of his time as a member of the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees will need him to continue to mash against the sinker, as well as just about everything else to this point, especially so with a lineup that is not doling out runs by the dozen.

Whatever the case, it might behoove Brian McCann to keep chasing sinkers. With any luck, good fortune will follow.


Photo: Anthony Grupposo / USA Today Sports

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