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Brian McCann and the pressure to perform

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Something has definitely changed in McCann's approach

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Last night's efforts aside, Brian McCann's first season in pinstripes has to be regarded as a disappointment. No one has been more vocal than the catcher himself about his expectations and his struggles. Compared with the Girardi/Jeter approach of "everything's fine," I've found McCann's honesty refreshing. I wonder, though, if the pressure he's put on himself hasn't helped produce this terrible season.

Obviously, the lack of power has been the most disappointing thing–remember that with the short porch in right, basically every baseball "expert" predicted a power surge. The Pinstripe Alley writers averaged a prediction of 27 home runs, with lowest prediction (3 of us) being for 23 home runs. So far he's managed to hit only 16 home run, lowest since his rookie campaign.

More concerning is the collapse of his walk rate, from 9.7% last year to 6.0% this year. When McCann started so terribly, he went to work with Kevin Long on some small adjustments. They eliminated his toe tap and widened his stance. He responded with a good month of July: .287/.312/.402.

But in July, McCann also stopped walking. He's walked fewer times in July and August than he did in just the month of June.

Maybe this is a temporary change or a result of small sample size. I wonder though if this lost season and McCann's obvious frustration has led him to change his approach in some subtle ways. He's definitely hacking more, and the team is not better for it.