The Atlanta Braves are fortunate to have the best catching duo in all of baseball with Brian McCann and David Ross and they will be relied on once again in 2012 to help carry the offense. McCann has been the most productive catcher over the course of the last five years and David Ross is undoubtably a top-tier backup catcher, if not the best in the game.
Brian McCann 2012 Projections and Outlook:
Bill James: .276/.360/.484, .357 wOBA, 24 HR, 88 RBI
ZiPS: .270/.354/.458, .350 wOBA, 22 HR, 79 RBI
McCann will be penciled in the lineup most days of the week unless he gets an evening off to rest and will bat anywhere from third to sixth. Fredi Gonzalez typically had B-Mac batting No. 4 or 5 in 2011, although that could be influenced in 2012 if Jason Heyward rebounds and/or if Chipper Jones goes down with an injury. Regardless of where he bats, McCann is as consistent as they come at the plate and will continue to be the All-Star catcher that he has been for years.
The biggest concern with McCann would have to be his health. While he has done a nice job staying on the field despite nagging injuries that come with being a catcher, he never quite recovered from an oblique strain he suffered in late July of last season. The Braves will need a healthy and productive Brian McCann if they hope to win big in 2012.
David Ross 2012 Projections and Outlook:
James: .232/.321/.405, .321 wOBA, 11 HR, 40 RBI
ZiPS: .239/.333/.413, .327 wOBA, 5 HR, 22 RBI.
Ross had a down year by his standards in 2012 and has regained some of the weight and strength he sacrificed last season while trying to lean out. He will be 35 years old by Opening Day, but most feel he has at least a few more productive years left behind the plate. Ross will likely catch only a game or two each week while giving McCann a night off and would immediately become the starter should Mac suffer an injury.