Quick Hit: How Hurt Is Brian McCann?

One of the most talked about topics in the broadcast booth this weekend, besides the memories of Jorge and Andy's careers, was the change in Brian McCann's batting stance.  YES cameras showed McCann standing with almost all of his weight on his front leg, a change from his usual balanced stance with more weight on his back leg.  John Flaherty said he asked McCann about it and McCann told him it was just something he was experimenting with, trying different things to tweak his swing. While I'm not saying I don't buy that answer, I can't help but think back to that game earlier in the month when McCann hurt his left knee late in a blowout win over the Red Sox.  There were a lot people questioning whether it was smart to leave him in that game, and the issue was at least serious enough for McCann to get the next 2 games off with what was called "inflammation".  McCann hasn't been swinging a hot bat lately, he's wearing a sizable brace on that left knee, and he was the DH for the 2 weekend games against Cleveland.  This all feels like it has to add up to a more serious knee injury that McCann and the Yankees aren't letting on to, doesn't it?

For what it's worth, McCann's slash line since August 4th - the night he initially tweaked the knee - is .167/.224/.426 with a 5.2% BB rate and 24.1% K rate.  Prior to that night, McCann was hitting .255/.325/.477 with 8.1% BB and 18.8% K rates.  His line drive rate has also sunk to 10.0% since 8/4 with sizable increases in fly ball contact in general and infield fly ball contact specifically, compared to a 19.3% LD rate prior to 8/4.

These statistical comparisons all come with the requisite SSS warning.  There's nothing in this current 15-game sample that can tell us anything definitively about whether or not McCann has a more serious knee injury than we know about or what the severity of the injury is.  But there certainly is a sizable pile of circumstantial and statistical evidence to support the claim.  If McCann's knee is in bad enough shape that he can't set his weight normally, that's surely something that would negative impact his timing, swing, and production at the plate.

The Yankee offense keeps fluctuating between extreme levels of production and the recent injury to Mark Teixeira has helped put them back into slump mode.  With other players around him needing time off to rest and ramp up for the September stretch run, McCann could be gutting one out for his team and trying to do the best he can to pick up the slack.  We've already seen how that plan works out with a pitcher nursing a bad knee.  I'd hate to see something similar happen to Big Mac.