McCann has brought some well-needed stability to a young Orioles roster, and although injuries have sidelined him over the last couple of weeks, his return should give hope for a return to form for the roster that is currently staring down the barrel of a four-game losing streak.
In 817 games played, the catcher has amassed 655 career hits, 81 home runs, 323 runs batted in, and a .241 batting average to go along with a .673 OPS according to ESPN.
Catchers aren’t often known for their hitting prowess but McCann has been solid both offensively and defensively throughout his time in the Major Leagues.
Though most fans will know him for the contributions made at the big league level, this proficiency in hitting started back in his college days at the University of Arkansas.
In three years with the Razorbacks, McCann compiled an average of .284, including a final season in 2011 in which he hit .306 according to Baseball Almanac.
The catcher was able to accumulate 85 runs, 16 home runs, 83 runs batted in, and drew nearly 50 walks courtesy of the solid hitting splits and excellent plate discipline.
With McCann’s proficiency as a collegiate backstop and hitter, I got to thinking; Where does James McCann rank among the top collegiate players to suit up at Arkansas?
Today, we are going to take a look at three of the university’s top players and see how they stack up against McCann’s contributions:
Widely regarded as one of the best players to suit up for the Razorbacks, catcher Ronn Reynolds was a force behind the backstop. Though his tenure was short, his impact on the program at large is one that is still felt years down the line.
He was the first catcher to start on the 1979 Razorbacks team that made it all the way to Omaha according to the official NCAA website. That season, Reynolds was an All-American and made his impact felt in the College World Series, hitting a bases-loaded double in the championship.
Reynolds’s status as a crunch-time performer with the bat and solid defensive presence has him on the shortlist for the greatest Arkansas catchers.
While McCann had his fair share of contributions at the collegiate level, stacking up to a resume that Reynolds put together is a hard ask and one that you can argue is not going to replicate again any time soon.
In only two seasons with the Razorbacks, current White Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi showed out and proved to be one of the best players to ever suit up in the red and white.
Widely considered the most decorated player in Razorbacks history, Benintendi received both the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award for an outstanding 2015 campaign. That season, the slugging outfielder recorded an absurd .376 batting average, 20 home runs, 13 doubles, 62 runs scored, 57 runs batted in, and 24 stolen bases according to the NCAA’s official website.
This production resulted in a top-ten selection in the top ten of the 2015 MLB Draft and cemented the now 28-year-old’s status as one of the top players in program history. Despite McCann’s best efforts, topping Benintendi is certainly a hard feat to accomplish.
Second baseman Kenderick Moore has his place in the list for many program records. According to the official NCAA website, Moore is the active leader in stolen bases, third in hits, and was hit by the fourth most pitches in program history.
Add in the fact that he was an All-American for the Razorbacks in 1996 and you have yourself one of the more well-rounded players in program history.
Though comparing McCann and Moore is hard work because of their different play styles, both men made impactful contributions during their time in the red and white, etching in one similarity between the players.
For James McCann, it is no stretch to call him one of the better Arkansas Razorbacks in recent memory. His impact as a hitter and defender makes him one of the finer catchers in program history and has his name etched in stone along with other program greats.
As his MLB career continues to unfold, McCann could climb even higher on the rankings down the line.
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