Tigers Prospect Profile: James McCann

Without a first round pick, many expected the Tigers to be very aggressive with their second round pick. By popping Arkansas catcher James McCann with the 76th pick, the club didn't necessarily meet expectations. What type of player did they get in McCann and what can fans expect to see when he signs? Check inside to find out!

James McCann
Position:Catcher
Height: 6-3
Weight: 210
Born: 6/13/1990
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background

Drafted out of high school in 2008 by the White Sox, McCann did not sign out of the 31st round and chose to attend Arkansas.

As a freshman, McCann saw action in 49 games for the Razorbacks (35 starts) and posted a .242/.285/.313 line at the plate. He earned All-Norman Regional honors in the NCAA Tournament and set himself up for a significant role on the 2010 team.

During his sophomore season, McCann improved both offensively and defensively, as he became one of the Razorbacks key cogs. He hit .286 in 59 games for Arkansas with six doubles and nine home runs, while driving in 34 runs.

Heading into the 2011 school year, McCann hit just .105 in 29 games with the Cotuit Kettlers of the Cape Cod League. He turned things around in time for the spring season as McCann posted a solid .306/.388/.469 line with the new bats in 2011.

Scouting Report

McCann is one of those players that scouts describe as not having any glaring weaknesses, but also not having any standout tool.

He has good physicality with a strong, wide frame that he maintains well. He has solid athleticism behind the plate and he has the potential to be an overall above-average to plus defender. His transfer and release can get a little slow at times, but he generally shows pop times in the 1.88-2.05 range; something that could quicken as a pro. His raw arm strength is solid average, and he receives the ball well.

McCann is a vocal leader on the field with good baseball intelligence. Scouts laud him for his makeup and he should be a good influence in the clubhouse the minute he signs.

Offensively, McCann lacks a standout skill. Though he's made contact at times in the past, scouts aren't convinced that he will show enough hitting ability to post more than a .250-.260 average against more advanced pitching. He struggles catching up to velocity at times and his pitch recognition could use some improvement.

Though he has strength in his frame, arms, and wrists, it doesn't always translate to his swing, and he projects for no more than fringe-average power, resulting in 12-14 home runs annually.

A below-average runner, McCann's speed isn't a huge detriment on the bases as he knows what he's doing and has good instincts.

In total, McCann profiles as a potential backup catcher with a very slim chance to expand that if one of his offensive tools steps forward. He is polished and has faced strong competition for the last three years, and he could fulfill that potential quickly.

Health Record
McCann has not had any major injuries throughout his amateur career.

The Future

McCann is expected to sign quickly this summer and put in at least two months of solid work as a pro. He has the skills and makeup to handle a challenging assignment to either of the Tigers full-season A-ball clubs in Lakeland or West Michigan.

With Luis Sanz not getting much playing time behind Rob Brantly in West Michigan, and the Whitecaps needing help to get back into the mix in the Midwest League, McCann could be a solid addition to the club later this month.

His bat will determine how quickly he moves through the system, as McCann's defense is expected to translate to the pro game pretty quickly. If he hits in 2011, he should move up to Lakeland in 2012, and possibly see Erie before the conclusion of next year. To fulfill his potential as a backup catcher, he could have an MLB ETA of late 2013 or early 2014.

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