In order to be great this year, the Braves not only need their young team to step up, but their veteran, six-time All Star Brian McCann to get healthy.
The catcher had his surgery in October of 2012 and is still rehabbing it. McCann is likely to miss the first couple of weeks of the season.
Before 2012, he was a five-time Silver Slugger Award winner and the best-hitting catcher in the National League. But in 2012, he hit a career low of .230 with a .300 on-base percentage and .399 slugging percentage, far lower than his previous slash line of .286/.358/.486.
McCann is a fan favorite in Atlanta, but a catcher’s career can be a short one because of the strains of sitting behind a plate. If McCann doesn’t step up this season, the Braves could be willing to part ways with the soon to be free agent, since Christian Bethancourt, a top catching prospect, could be ready for the big-leagues.
For this upcoming season, though, the older players, like McCann, are going to make the difference between being a good team and being a great team, since there is only so far the new, young players can take them.