CLEVELAND -- James McCann's season at Double-A Erie lifted him from a well-regarded defensive catcher in the Tigers' system to a legitimate catching prospect. Now it has landed him in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game.
McCann was added to the U.S. Team on Saturday to replace White Sox catching prospect Josh Phegley, whom Chicago promoted to the big leagues on Friday. The move gives the Tigers two players in the Futures Game for the third consecutive year. Triple-A Toledo first baseman Jordan Lennerton was the lone Tigers farmhand on the initial rosters.
McCann was Detroit's top pick out of Arkansas two years ago in the First-Year Player Draft and split last season between Erie and Class A Lakeland. He threw out 49 of 113 would-be basestealers for a 43 percent caught-stealing rate, but struggled to make the jump at the plate, batting just .200 at Erie after hitting .288 in A-ball.
His offense this year has been a revelation of sorts, with a .288 average and a .703 OPS to go with 15 doubles, three home runs and 36 RBIs. One American League scout who scouted the SeaWolves recently said McCann has gotten stronger and has raw power potential to go with average.
Defensively, manager Jim Leyland said, "he can catch and throw in the big leagues right now."
McCann is the Tigers' 11th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.