During the offseason, when people weren’t talking about the Upton brothers, they were talking about Brian McCann‘s injury and Christian Bethancourt challenging him for the starting role. Well McCann is still on the DL, Bethancourt is still in the minors at the AA level and the new guy behind the plate that we can’t stop talking about is Evan Gattis.
If you haven’t heard, Gattis has a story like none other. He started off in high school earning a scholarship from Texas A&M University but abandoned it after struggling with substance abuse. He went into rehab for his abuse and when he came out he enrolled in Seminole State College. He injured his knee his freshman year and quit college after that. Gattis wondered the United States for four years trying to ‘find himself’ and decide what to do with his life. He worked as a janitor, a ski-lift operator and even worked in a pizza parlor. He eventually came back to baseball in 2010, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and was drafted by the Braves in that same year.
As a 26-year-old rookie, Evan Gattis is one of the most interesting players to enter the game of baseball. He has played in five games so far this season and has gone 7-of-19 at the plate with a .368 AVG, 2 home runs and 3 RBIs. He’s been fantastic behind the plate with a perfect fielding percentage through 40 chances and has not committed an error.
As Christian Bethancourt is playing in Jackson, MS and Brian McCann is healing his shoulder, Evan Gattis is making one heck of a name for himself. Suddenly, the talks of Bethancourt being called up to the bigs to challenge McCann have stopped. The hopes that the Braves might resign McCann have fallen and everyone is star struck by a player that they had never heard of going into this spring training. A spring training where Gattis also had a .368 AVG, 6 home runs and 13 RBIs in 24 games.
The Braves have a very difficult situation when McCann returns from the DL though. It’s still unclear as to who would be sent back down. A lot of people expected it to be Gattis; however, I would expect that to change if he continues on this fantastic streak that he’s on. He’s taken over the cleanup position in the lineup since Freddie Freeman was put on the DL and has proven himself quite a bit.
However, his work is not done. As we all know, baseball is a game of streaks. He has to prove that he can be consistent if he wants to potentially challenge McCann for the starting role. If Gattis continues to shine, I think he could potentially take that role away from McCann if he struggles upon his return. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.