Evan Gattis might not threaten Christian Bethancourt behind the plate but that doesn't mean he won't make an impact somewhere with Atlanta

Introducing Evan Gattis

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If you haven’t heard of Evan Gattis yet… you have now. A few people had him on their radar before the season started but most of us only put him on there recently. Gattis has a great story, and he could have an even better bat. For some background on the kid (trust me you will want to read this) check out DOB’s article on him.

For those of you to lazy to go and read the whole thing I will give you a piece of it:

Seven months later, he got an itch again. Returned to Texas along with his brother, who’d been working at a Utah ski resort. The Gattis boys took jobs as janitors in Dallas at Datamatic – “we found it on Craig’s List” – then moved on to become cart-boys at a golf course.

“Right about this time I started finding these spiritual teachers or whatever on YouTube,” Gattis says, “and I thought, these mother******s  know what I’m talking about. They’re speaking my language, whatever they’re saying.”

Gattis met with one such advisor when she came through Dallas. She said something that convinced him to drop everything and follow her to Taos, N.M. He told his parents a few days before Christmas, then left.

He lived in a hostel at Taos and worked at another ski resort there, but after three months Gattis was ready to move on.

I wasn’t sure exactly what pieces I needed to put in there for you because truly the story does need a full read. Hopefully that little snippet will be enough to get you going there.

But from the baseball side of things, Gattis is just as interesting as his adventures with drugs, gurus, and spiritualists (his story reminds me of Josh Hamilton’s with a hippy twist to it). After returning to the game (hopefully) for good, Evan Gattis has opened quit a few eyes. One of the pairs belongs to Mark Hulet—prospect dude—from Fangraphs.

In Mark’s regular Prospect Stock Market series he recently wrote a bit on the Braves’ player of intrigue:

He is also hitting for both power and average in the early going, but it’s something he’s done throughout his three-year pro career.

Here are some of Gattis’ stats since he has been with the Braves.

G PA HR BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG
2010(R) 60 242 4 2.5% 18.2% .099 .341 .288 .339 .387
2011(A) 88 377 22 6.6% 14.1% .278 .328 .322 .386 .601
2012(A+) 15 67 6 10.4% 10.4% .407 .372 .407 .493 .815

Yes people are going to rag on him consistently because of his age (25) comparative to his league but if he can continue to hit with success as the Braves push him through the minors (Hulet predicts they will be pushing him quickly which I agree with) he may start to remove some doubt.

He came into the organization as a catcher but he has already player a game in left field. I’m guessing this is because of several things.

  1. He’s essentially blocked in the organization at catcher with Brian McCann and Christian Bethancourt both in front of him (and David Ross for that matter)
  2. If he is going to be promoted to Mississippi, he will probably need somewhere to play. Right now Bethancourt is the catcher for the team.
  3. His defense has never been great behind the plate and this combined with the fact that Atlanta could use some outfielders next year in the system means a permanent move to the outfield now, makes sense.

I have always been one to pull for the guys who were never ‘highly touted’ or the ‘can’t miss prospect’ which is the main reason I am pulling for this kid. It’s great to see when guys make turnarounds in their lives and it’s even cooler when you can crush the baseball while you do it.

Like I said earlier people will be critical of him until he gets into double and triple A ball but he has improved with every new challenge in his professional career so far. You will immediately notice that his triple slash has improved in every category with each year and league but the more important thing in my opinion at this point, is his plate discipline.

His base on ball percentage has increased every year and his strike out rate has done the opposite. We still only have 15 games of data on him in 2012 but the trend is great to see.

Players and coaches have praised Gattis’ work ethic and attitude and I have even heard that when he hits the ball it ‘sounds different.’ All of these things are great to hear and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the outfield and in double A. The call-up should be coming soon, and with Prado likely becoming the every day third baseman in 2013, we could see him as early as next year in Atlanta. I’m not trying to jump to any conclusions—he still hasn’t hit above high A—but you can’t help but be excited for Evan Gattis.

 

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Evan Gattis Minor Leagues

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