Inside the Numbers

Brian McCann vs. Joe Mauer

ESPN always seems to bring up the discussions comparing players and sparking the question, “Who would ya take?”

It seems as though I’m in the minority as I would take Brian McCann over Joe Mauer. Here’s a look inside the numbers. Currently Mauer leads most statistical categorizes throughout both players’ careers. Before writing off McCann one should know that Mauer started his fabulous career a year earlier than McCann. Mauer played 35 games in 2005 while McCann didn’t begin his MLB career until 2006.

Joe MauerDespite this most of the major statistics are somewhat close with Mauer having the edge in hits (733 to 549), doubles (140 to135), RBI (345 to 328) and total bases (1077 to 922). Mauer also has the advantage in career batting average (.324 to .299).

McCann seems to only lead Mauer in one major category, home runs (78 to 58). Right now you should be thinking this is a no contest, Mauer is obviously the better offensive catcher. This is before I inform you that Mauer also leads McCann with 616 games played to just 533. He also leads McCann in at-bats 2263 to just 1839. Not only has Mauer played in 83 more games than McCann, he participated in 76 of those as the designated hitter. McCann doesn’t have the luxury of the DH in the National League. McCann has only been able to DH 27 times in his career compared to Mauer’s 76.

Brian McCann The DH may not seem like a big deal but it can really boost one’s statistics. Mauer can occasionally take the day off defensively but remain in the game to hit. I believe it is common knowledge that catching is the most physically demanding position on the field. If McCann wants to hit he has to catch also. When McCann needs a day off he doesn’t have the luxury of the DH like Mauer does. Mauer gets his day off while padding his offensive statistics. When taking this into consideration Mauer has a large advantage in opportunities since the beginning of the 2005 season.

This proves that you can’t always take statistics at face value. Mauer leads the major statistics but has had more opportunities. On the other hand, Mauer has had more at-bats and games but still has a better batting average and only 14 more strikeouts. Statistics can also be warped by injuries. Mauer has missed a substantial amount of time this season while McCann spent about a month or so with terrible eye problems that forced him to the DL.

Joe Mauer currently owns the better fielding percentage (.996 to .989) but McCann has one more All-Star appearance. It really is a toss up between the two superstars. No matter what you think we are truly lucky to see two great offensive catchers playing at the same time. These two could go down as the two greatest offensive catchers to ever play the game.

Happy blogging,



  1. orangebirds

    hey i am an orioles fan.. i like your blog alot. you really know what you are talking about. could you check out my blog, the birds blog?

  2. Jane Heller

    I like the comparison and think they’re both great catchers. I just think the AL is a tougher league, offensively, so to rise to the top of the pack like Mauer has is a major accomplishment. On the other hand, McCann has shown a lot of potential. Good match-up!


    No I’m not a stat zombie lol. I actually think stats are overrated but unfortunately most fans need to see proof on paper to see something. It’s a real shame actually.

  4. orangebirds

    Hey, thanks for commenting on our blog. And I agree that the O’s have a young and great outfield with Jones, Reimold, and Markakis. They also have some VERY good young arms like Hernandez, Matusz, and Bergesen. You can comment anytime you like. I like the our catcher, young and fresh. He will blossom somewhere in the next few weeks to a month or so. thanks again,

  5. Darion

    I do think that Mauer is better than McCann, but not by much. Mauer does have the DH advantage, but he does play in the AL which is probably the better league. McCann is definitely a Top 2 catcher in the MLB. I loved how everyone was saying Soto was already better than McCann. See how that ended up.

  6. Fenway Bleacher Creature

    It is a lot closer than I thought. Great argument man. I’ve loved all of your entries so far, you’re very knowledgeable and you make realistic arguments. Nice job! Check out my blog if you have a little time on your hands

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