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!”
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.