HOUSTON -- As far as veteran Astros catcher Brian McCann is concerned, there's always room for improvement. Even entering his 14th big league season and coming off a season in which he helped the Astros win their first World Series.
McCann, appearing on MLB Network on Friday from Orlando, Fla., where he's playing in the Diamond Resorts Invitational PGA Tour champions challenge event, spoke about the ongoing satisfaction from winning a championship, how baseball has changed and what he needs to do better in 2018.
McCann, who hit .241 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs last year and caught all but one half-inning in the postseason, said he wants to throw out runners at a higher percentage this coming season, as well as hit lefties better. The 33-year-old threw out only 11.5 percent (seven of 61) of would-be basestealers in the regular season. He batted .227 against southpaws.
"When you assess your season, you can nitpick everything," McCann said. "You want to be perfect and you want to do this and that, but to win a world championship and go through that and to catch those games, it was the best experience of my life. As a player, I need to get better in certain areas, but when I take last year as a whole, it couldn't have gone any better for me."
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McCann had a front-row seat for the Astros' magical run to the postseason, catching former American League Cy Young Award winners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, up-and-coming All-Stars Lance McCullers and Chris Devenski and breakout right-handers Brad Peacock and Charlie Morton, who threw the final four innings of Game 7 of the World Series.
The veteran didn't even mind hitting in the lower third of a lineup that included AL Most Valuable Player Award winner Jose Altuve, World Series MVP George Springer, All-Star Carlos Correa and rising star third baseman Alex Bregman, who drove in Derek Fisher from second base with the winning run in the 10th inning of Game 5 of the World Series (Fisher ran for McCann, who reached on a two-out hit by pitch and advanced to second on a walk).
"The talent I get to watch every night from behind the plate, we're getting guys in the prime of their career, and when it's all said and done, they're going to be some impact players in this game," McCann said. "We've got superstars on this team. Our pitching staff, we've got great arms -- Justin Verlander, Keuchel, Morton, McCullers, [Collin] McHugh. We've got arms. We've got a complete team. We're explosive. We're looking to do what we did last year in 2018."
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Considering the Astros ramp up Spring Training in one month, they will soon get to prove if they're up for the challenge of repeating. McCann can't wait.
"There's nothing better than that," he said.