Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Gattis Could Be Starting


Early reports out of Kissimmee Florida have been that Evan Gattis is destroying the baseball and putting on a show everyday.  He has been hitting moon shots at the practice fields, giving the Braves players plenty to talk about.  Even the greats noticed him, while attending practice on Sunday, Chipper Jones noticed Gattis and tweeted “If you wanna see something really special, watch Evan Gattis hit a baseball. Some serious thump!”

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

During the 2011 season in single A ball he hit 22 home runs with a .322 average.  Then in 2012, while being promoted to three different affiliations, he hit 18 home runs, had a .305 average and .389 on base percentage.  In winter ball he hit 16 home runs in 21 games with another above .300 batting average (.303).  And now, 2013 Spring Training, all signs have shown the power has carried over.  During Monday’s practice when Craig Kimbrel was throwing batting practice, Gattis was the only player to get a hit.

He is in his 26-year-old season and hasn’t played above AA but could he be starting day 1 of the 2013 season?

Brian McCann may not be ready for opening day and possibly the opening month of the season.  The Braves shouldn’t rush him back so he can be fully healthy for the extended season (playoffs).  This is a contact year for McCann and the Braves may not be able to sign him at the end of the season.  During the offseason the Braves acquired Gerald Laird to be the backup catcher and help at the start of the season while McCann recovered from surgery but being 33-years-old and a long time backup catcher, I’d prefer someone else behind the plate.

During his three years in the minor leagues, Gattis has 114 career games as a catcher.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Braves give him an extended look during Spring Training games at the catcher position.  If McCann isn’t ready and if Gattis continues with the same success he’s displayed already, the Braves should start Evan Gattis behind the plate opening day.

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

  • fireboss

    Laird will start opening day. He’s better defensively and manages pitchers better, something particularly important for Teheran and Minor.Our At this point looks like a pair of Johnsons Reed and Chris, Laird, Pena/Janish. No lefty threat there and we have none in the minors. Unless we flip a Johnson or a SS our bench as lee wrote is thinner on power than a tissue.

    • Jeff Schafer

      The manager, gm or anyone has come out and said who is starting as the opening day catcher. They haven’t even said who is starting the first game of spring training. I believe on February 18th you can not put a pin on who will be the opening day starter.

      • fireboss

        They hired Laird with the idea that McCann might be out a month or more and with Ross gone they wanted ” . . .a proven Major League veteran behind the plate.” Though Dave O’Brien noted that he was okay behind the plate scouting reports say he is raw as a catcher. BA says in it’s post 2012 rankings that “. . .He has solid arm
        strength and threw out 39 percent of basestealers in 2012, but he’s
        rough as a receiver and awkward behind the plate.” Those are not attributes a championship team wants in its starting day backstop. He’s not Piazza whose only real defensive liability was his lack of an arm. He has little game calling experience so putting him out there with Teheran and Minor reduces their chances of success. Huddy needs to know the catcher will stop the pitches designed to land in the dirt. If we were the Astros, Cubs, Mets etc Gattis could start and make the mistakes because they aren’t winning anyway. The Braves know after last year that winning the division is the goal and no game can be given away so a rookie catcher with questionable defensive skills is destined to be a backup at the major league level. He needs seasoning ideally at AAA but his bat may earn his a spot because our bench is so shallow.

        • Jeff Schafer

          I like your argument and agree with most but if he beats out Laird in spring training why not give him a shot. ST can get us a whirl of a difference of whats ahead.

          • fireboss

            He can out hit Laird but he can’t out catch Laird. Becoming a major league signal caller is a process. The game is so much faster there than anywhere he’s ever caught and he’s so raw as a thinking catcher it’s virtually impossible save a Vulcan mind mend with Eddie Perez to acquire an acceptable level of knowledge and anticipation quickly. Guys like Posey are not the norm particularly with the long break from the game. McCann was a nonstop catcher ad had 4 years in the minors. I Like his bat and if he was younger I could see him becoming the next Braves catcher after a year at Gwinnett but I can’t see them risking it when they hired Laird for that purpose.