James McCann (baseball)

James McCann
McCann with the Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers – No. 34
Born: (1990-06-13) June 13, 1990
Santa Barbara, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 1, 2014, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
(through August 30, 2018)
Batting average .241
Home runs 39
Runs batted in 171

James Thomas McCann (born June 13, 1990) is an American professional baseball catcher for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to beginning his professional career, he played college baseball at the University of Arkansas. McCann has also competed for the United States national baseball team. His strong throwing arm and ability to throw out potential base stealers has earned him the nickname "McCannon".[1]

Amateur career

McCann attended Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California. Out of high school, the Chicago White Sox drafted McCann in the 31st round (930th overall) of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft, but he did not sign, opting to attend college. McCann enrolled at the University of Arkansas, where he played college baseball for the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team in the Southeastern Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division I. In his junior season, McCann had a .306 batting average, six home runs, 14 doubles, 11 stolen bases, 38 runs batted in (RBIs) and 35 runs scored in 61 games played.[2] McCann was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, presented to the best catcher in NCAA's Division I.[2]

McCann played for the United States national baseball team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup and the 2011 Pan American Games,[3] winning the silver medal.[4]

Professional career

Minor league career

The Detroit Tigers selected McCann in the second round, with the 1 overall selection, of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. He was Detroit's first selection of the draft, and the first of four catchers the team selected.[2][5] He signed with the Tigers and made his professional debut in 2011, playing five games with the Gulf Coast Tigers of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before being promoted to the West Michigan Whitecaps of the Class A Midwest League.[5]

The Tigers invited McCann to spring training in 2012.[6] He began the 2012 season with the Lakeland Tigers of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League, and received a promotion to the Erie SeaWolves of the Class AA Eastern League on June 6,[7] though be batted only .200 for Erie. After adjusting his offensive approach, McCann responded with a .283 average through July 14 of the 2013 season, and appeared in the All-Star Futures Game.[8] He ended the season with a .277 average, eight home runs, 30 doubles, 54 runs batted in (RBIs), and an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of .731.[9]

McCann began the 2014 season with the Toledo Mud Hens of the Class AAA International League. McCann finished the season with the Mud Hens batting .295 with seven home runs, 54 RBIs, and a .770 OPS.

Major League Baseball

2014: Major League debut

[10] On September 1, 2014, McCann was called up by the Detroit Tigers.[11] He made his major league debut that day in the bottom of the ninth inning, replacing catcher Alex Avila.[12] McCann got his first major league start on September 19, 2014, catching for Justin Verlander against the Kansas City Royals. McCann had two hits (both to center field), a stolen base, and scored twice.

2015 season

In Spring Training 2015, McCann competed with Bryan Holaday to be the backup catcher behind Avila. McCann won the competition.[13] He hit his first major league home run, an inside-the-park home run, on April 29, 2015.[14] On May 21, 2015, he hit his first conventional home run, a walk-off in the 11th inning to give the Tigers a 6–5 victory over the Houston Astros. McCann became the first MLB player to hit an inside-the-park home run and a walk-off home run for his first two career home runs since Tim Raines in 1981.[15][16] On June 28, 2015, McCann hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Tigers a 5–4 victory over the Chicago White Sox. McCann became the first MLB player to hit an inside-the-park home run and two walk-off home runs for his first three career home runs since Tony Piet in 1932.[17]

McCann set the modern major league record for the number of consecutive games played at catcher to start a career without an error, surpassing the previous record of 93 set by Frankie Pytlak from 1932 to 1934.[18] McCann finished the 2015 season with no errors in 112 games played at catcher to lead all MLB catchers in fielding percentage. He became the sixth catcher in major league history to catch at least 100 games in a season without committing an error, following Chris Iannetta and Chris Snyder in 2008, Mike Matheny in 2003, Charles Johnson in 1997 and Buddy Rosar in 1946.[19]

McCann was named the 2015 Detroit Tigers/Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association Rookie of the Year. He finished the 2015 season with a .264 average (106-for-401), 18 doubles, five triples, seven home runs and 41 RBI, while throwing out 41 percent of potential base stealers. His 29 multi-hit games ranked fourth among American League rookies.[20]

2016 season

On April 11, 2016, McCann suffered a Grade 2 right ankle sprain and was placed on the disabled list.[21] On May 31, 2016, McCann's Major League record of 139 games to start a career at catcher without committing an error ended.[22]

For the 2016 season, McCann batted .221 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 105 games. Following the season, McCann was named a Gold Glove Award finalist for catcher, along with Carlos Pérez and Salvador Pérez. McCann threw out 45 percent of would-be basestealers, second-highest among AL catchers, and led his position with nine double plays. His nine Defensive Runs Saved also ranked second in the AL.[23]

2017 season

On May 26, McCann was put on the 10 day DL because of a left hand laceration. He returned to the Tigers on June 9 against the Boston Red Sox. McCann struggled at the plate through June, finishing the month with a .194 batting average and .268 on-base percentage. However, a hot July including a ten-game hitting streak to finish off the month and four multi-hit games pushed McCann's average to the .246 mark with a .321 on-base percentage. For all of July, McCann batted .396 (19-for-48) with a .473 OBP, seven extra-base hits and 11 runs batted in. His hitting streak would extend to 14 games before ending on August 5. McCann finished the 2017 season with a .253 batting average, while hitting 13 home runs in 352 at-bats.

2018 season

On January 11, 2018, the Tigers signed McCann to a one-year deal worth $2.375 million, avoiding arbitration.[24]

Personal life

McCann and his wife, Jessica, were married in November 2014. They reside in Fayetteville, Arkansas.[25] The couple had their first children, a set of twins, in December 2017.[26]


  1. Jarvinen, Nicklas (July 12, 2015). "McCann, Avila, or Both?". baseballessential.com. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 AP Photo (June 7, 2011). "Tigers pass on highly touted prep stars, select Arkansas catcher James McCann with their first pick". MLive. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  3. Heck, David (October 20, 2011). "Mendonca plates six in Team USA rout". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  4. Emrich, Robert (October 26, 2011). "Van Ostrand, Canada take Pan Am gold". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  5. 1 2 AP Photo (August 20, 2011). "Detroit Tigers top draft pick James McCann joins Whitecaps as homestand begins". MLive. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  6. Beck, Jason. "Castellanos heads list of Tigers' Spring invites". MLB.com. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  7. "Tigers designate Omir Santos for assignment, call up Bryan Holaday, put Alex Avila on DL". Detroit Free Press. June 6, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  8. Beck, Jason (July 14, 2013). "Futures reps Lennerton, McCann proud of progress". MLB.com. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  9. "The Tigers' organization All-Stars". Minor League Baseball. November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  10. Footer, Alyson (September 20, 2014). "McCann catches on quick with first MLB hits". MLB.com. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  11. Iott, Chris (August 31, 2014). "Steven Moya, James McCann among seven players Detroit Tigers will add to roster this week". MLive. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  12. Iott, Chris (September 1, 2014). "Tigers 12, Indians 1: Miguel Cabrera has two home runs, four hits in rout of Cleveland". MLive. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  13. Sipple, George (March 31, 2015). "Tigers' McCann thrilled, Holaday bummed after cuts". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  14. Associated Press (April 29, 2015). "Cabrera powers Tigers past Twins 10-7 after Hughes gets hurt". ESPN. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  15. Farrell, Perry (May 21, 2015). "Tigers 6, Astros 5 (11): McCann's walk-off homer wins it". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  16. Paul, Tony (May 22, 2015). "McCann's first two homers as a Tiger had superhero feel". The Detroit News. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  17. Zúñiga, Alejandro (June 28, 2015). "McCann making most out of round-trippers". MLB.com. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  18. Schmehl, James (September 9, 2015). "Detroit Tigers notebook: James McCann sets modern baseball record with errorless streak at catcher". MLive. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  19. Mowery, Matthew (October 4, 2015). "Tigers Notebook: Errorless season for McCann; Top 10 pick secured; Davis, JV earn September honors". The Macomb Daily. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  20. Beck, Jason (November 5, 2015). "McCann wins Tigers Rookie of the Year". MLB.com. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  21. Beck, Jason (April 12, 2016). "McCann put on DL by Tigers after ankle injury". MLB.com. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  22. Beck, Jason (May 31, 2016). "McCann's historic errorless streak ends". MLB.com. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  23. Beck, Jason (October 27, 2016). "4 Tigers named Gold Glove Award finalists". MLB.com. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  24. Fenech, Anthony (January 11, 2018). "Detroit Tigers reach deal with James McCann, look to sign four others". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  25. Holt, Bob (February 25, 2015). "McCann catches on with Tigers". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  26. Beck, Jason (February 14, 2018). "McCann's spring brightened by two tiny reasons". MLB.com. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
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