One of the biggest concerns most Tigers' fan have is can Alex Avila staying healthy and can he hit. He is under contract for another season. He is a very good defensive catcher, but at the plate he struggles outside of his walks. Last season we saw Bryan Holaday as Avila's backup catcher. Going into this spring training, Holaday isn't the clear favorite for that spot. He will have competition with rookie prospect James McCann.
Bryan Holaday was drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 amateur player draft by the Detroit Tigers. The early scouting reports on Holaday is that he is best known for his glove. Strong arm and great game calling skills lead him to his major league debut in 2012. Offensively Holaday does not hit for power or average. He is a career .241/.280/.303 with a career OPS+ of 62. He will best serve as a backup catcher throughout his career.
James McCann was originally drafted in 2008 in the 31st round by the Chicago White Sox, but ultimately decided to go to the University of Arkansas. He would end up being drafted by the Tigers in 2011 in the 2nd round. Again like Holaday, McCann's calling card is his defense. He is said to be a good on field captain. Offensively he hasn't flashed as much power as the Tigers would like to see from a catcher, but he is a gap hitter that can eventually average 12-15 home runs a year. One scouting report said that McCann does not have one standout skill, but does everything somewhat well.
My final prediction, like most people, Alex Avila will be the Detroit Tigers starting catcher with James McCann as the backup catcher. Bryan Holaday will start the season in Triple A Toledo. If McCann can hit somewhere close to his slash line of .295/.343/.427 from last season in Triple A Toledo, he might be able to take over the starting job from Avila. I would like to see a .270/.325/.400 line from McCann this year and take over the starting catching job from Avila.