The pitching and defense have been pleasant surprises, but struggling starts from hitters like Dan Uggla have been disappointing to say the least.
One of the few constants for Atlanta has been the outstanding play of catcher Brian McCann. Last year's All-Star MVP has consistently been the best bat in the lineup. McCann's .310 average and .378 on-base percentage lead Atlanta hitters. His 20 RBI rank third amongst Braves batters and he has the team's second-most hits behind the surging Martin Prado.
Arguably his best performances have come in the clutch; McCann has a stellar .500 average with RISP, best amongst NL batters and third in the MLB.
Not only does McCann carry impressive numbers in the Atlanta order, his stats are amongst the league's best for all catchers. He leads all catchers in hits, average and on-base percentage, and is a close-second in RBI.
One of the only weaknesses has been McCann's defense. While the blame partly falls on the pitchers, McCann has been less than impressive at throwing out runners. He does deserve at least some credit towards the team's excellent 2.99 ERA, serving as the primary signal-caller for all the Atlanta aces.
If McCann can stay healthy and productive behind the plate, he is on pace for a career-best season. Such a spectacular season would likely stir some MVP buzz towards the Braves catcher.
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