Brian McCann vs. Austin Barnes
Brian McCann (.156/.270./219) 2 Doubles, 5 RBI
Austin Barnes (.261/.370/.435) 1 Double, 1 HR, 3 RBI
This position could very well turn out to be a platoon spot for both teams. The Astros have a veteran combination of Brian McCann and Evan Gattis that provides a lot of power, but a lot of swing and miss potential. The Dodgers could, in theory, go back to a catcher platoon with Austin Barnes struggling in the NLCS.
The Astros will likely go with McCann as their primary catcher on the road, where they will not have the DH. McCann has played in 23 postseason games in his career and had a career .177 average in October. He occasionally can run into a ball and drive it out of the park, but he strikes out a decent amount (16% during regular season). He’s had ten seasons which he hit more than 20 home runs during the regular season but only has three career postseason home runs, all coming in his tenure with the Braves.
Gattis is similarily profiled as McCann, He’s not a true hitter for average but can put the ball in the seats. Gattis is a reverse splits guy. He has a slash line of .272/.323/.460 against right-handers, and a .241/.280/.448 slash line against left-handers. Those splits aren’t drastic, but they’re important to know while watching the games.
Austin Barnes struggled severely in the NLCS. Barnes only collected two hits in 15 at-bats against the Cubs and reopened the question of who should be the Dodgers starting catcher. Barnes started all but one game in the NLCS as should still be the guy to beat after a breakout regular season and huge NLDS.
Grandal only had four plate appearances in the NLCS. He got on-base three times and helped turn over the lineup for the Dodgers. Roberts could very well open the door for a platoon spot, which would mean Grandal starting versus righties. But the Astros have hard-throwing right-handers, and Barnes has a better pitch value against fastballs than Grandal (Barnes 1.16 vs. Grandal -.073)
Edge: Dodgers – Assuming Barnes gets the majority of starts at catcher, the Dodgers have the advantage here. Barnes and Grandal are a lot younger and provide more stability on the defensive end than McCann or Gattis. Barnes does have stolen base upside, which is a bonus.