Atlanta Braves Catcher Evan Gattis Is The Best Story In Baseball’s Early Season
At age 18 Gattis was a hot college baseball prospectin his hometown of Forney, Texas. He signed to play at Texas A&M, but never showed up, the result of an early-life existential crisis. Gattis, at the urging of his mother, entered a rehab facility to help kick a developing habit for marijuana and alcohol. He then played a season with Seminole State in Oklahoma, but got hurt. He quit baseball. Then he set off on his journey.
He went west, initially to Boulder, Colorado. He worked odd jobs, as a cart boy at a golf course, a ski-lift operator and a janitor (he uses his janitor ID as his Twitter avatar). He sought out various spiritual advisors, and after consultations, felt like he was back on track and done with his wanderings. “I was just done looking for whatever it was I was looking for. I was done with it. It cleared up in kind of a final way where, without a shadow of a doubt, I just knew I didn’t have to do that anymore,” he told USA Today.
And then in 2010 he decided to give baseball another try. He played a season at the University of Texas-Permian Basin, where his stepbrother was a pitcher. He mashed the ball. The Braves took him in the 23rd round of the MLB draft. He didn’t make the team that year. He lost weight (he had ballooned to 270 pounds). He played winter ball in Venezuela, where the fans called him “El Oso Blanco” (the white bear).
Then he came to the Braves camp this spring. McCann, the team knew, would be out for an extended time. The Braves brought in a veteran catcher, Gerald Laird. But Gattis refused to be ignored. He batted .357 with 6 homers and 16 RBIs in the Grapefruit League. He made the big-league roster. He hit a home run in his very first major league game, as the TV announcers were interviewing his father. Right now, he’s a bargain for the Braves, with a salary of $490,000.
Braves put Cristhian Martinez on DL
Atlanta Braves right-hander reliever Cristhian Martinez was put on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a strained right shoulder, making room on the roster for recently acquired right-hander Luis Ayala.
Ayala joined the Braves in Washington ahead of Friday night’s game against the Nationals. Atlanta received the reliever in a trade that sent minor league left-hander Chris Jones to theBaltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
Atlanta Braves: The Hottest Team in All of Major League Baseball
The 9-1 Atlanta Braves are without doubt the hottest team in Major League Baseball right now.
Not only are their bats on fire, but their pitching staff has been firing on all cylinders.
Just take a look at their standout offensive players:
Freddie Freeman - .412/.474/.647, 7-for-17, 1 home run, 1 double, 7 RBI, 3 runs scored.
Justin Upton - .385/.419/.949, 15-for-39, 6 home runs, 4 doubles, 10 RBI, 9 runs scored.
Chris Johnson - .357/.400/.500, 10-for-28, 1 home run, 1 double, 2 RBI, 4 runs scored.
Ramiro Pena - .357/.357/.643, 5-for-14, 1 home run, 1 double, 6 RBI, 3 runs scored.
Evan Gattis - .333/.400/.704, 9-for-27, 3 home runs, 1 double, 6 RBI, 3 runs scored.
Gerald Laird - .333/.429/.500, 4-for-12, 2 doubles, 1 RBI.
Jordan Schafer - .571/.571/.714, 4-for-7, 1 double, 2 runs scored.
Juan Francisco - .310/.333/.414, 9-for-29, 1 home run, 5 RBI, 2 runs scored.