clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Brian McCann still can't get going at the plate

The struggle bus rides on.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Brian McCann was brought in to provide solid offense at a historically defense-first position.  While McCann got off to a rough start, posting a 66 wRC+ in April, many of us assumed that he would snap out of it as the season wore on.  Now we find ourselves in the middle of June, and McCann is still mired in a slump (he's hitting .226/.281/.361 for a 75 wRC+) that has left a gaping whole in the Yankee offense and, if it continues, will severely hurt their playoff chances.

While McCann started off 2014 poorly, he did show some signs of life in May, hitting.239/.307/.413 with four doubles and four home runs (compared to two doubles and three homers in April).  He also drove in 15 runs, which was over half of his season total.  During the last two weeks of May, McCann was especially solid, posting a wRC+ of 122 and looking like maybe, just maybe, he was getting ready to go on a tear.  It was not to be, however–McCann has been worse than ever in June, hitting .194/.242/.226 for a 27 wRC+ over the past ten games.  Needless to say, it's been a tough year so far for McCann.

The most glaring area where McCann has struggled this year is with his power. McCann's never hit for a great average, but he has hit with quite a bit of pop throughout his career.  This season he's been punchless, though, posting a .135 ISO in 2014, way down from his career average of .193 (and last year's .205).  Some of this might be due to him continuing to try to hit away from the shift, as he's been pulling the ball less in 2014 (he has pulled 40% of the balls he made contact with this season, compared to 45% over his career).  Even when he has managed to pull the ball, it hasn't been with much power. His slugging percentage this season of .479 on pulled balls is way down from his career mark of .701, and his HR/FB rate of 26.1% on pulled balls is also down significantly, from 45.9% last season and 33.4% over his career.

While we shouldn't panic (yet), it's still a bit troubling that McCann's been struggling for such an extended period of time. With only a month to go until the All-Star break, McCann still has plenty of time to make this season a success, but the Yankees will need him in the second half for a playoff push.  With a stretch of twelve home games in sixteen games starting next Tuesday–he's has hit better at Yankee Stadium, posting an 84 wRC+ versus a 69 on the road–he'll have a good chance to build some momentum before the break.