Evan Gattis has been at the center of sporting headlines and twitter jokes since he made his Major League debut this season. When the Atlanta Braves are talked about, his name is usually among the first that are mentioned.
However, with his rise to stardom, many Brave fans believe that he should be made the full time starter behind the plate and ship Brian McCann out while he has decent trade value. Are we as Braves fans really ready to send McCann out to keep a 26 year old rookie that has yet to show he can sustain a full season behind the plate?
McCann has been an all star from 2006-2011 and won the Silver Slugger award in all of those years except for 2007. This year, McCann’s slash line (.250/.349/.463) is very similar to Gattis’ (.252/.317/.577). Also, by getting rid of McCann, you lose a guy that caught guys like John Smoltz and one of the few members of the team that was around the last time the Braves won the division title. Simply put, the Braves would be losing a classy guy, an awesome leader, a plus defender, and an all star caliber hitter.
On the other hand, the Braves could replace McCann with the man they call “El Oso Blanco” (Evan Gattis). Gattis has really performed well in all phases of the game since the beginning of the season. As a Brave, he has played catcher, leftfield, and a few games at first base. He patrols the outfield in his own awkward way, but has gotten the job done in his time out there. He has also proven that he can be an above average hitter and has actually went 6-8 with four home runs as a pinch hitter and a .577 slugging percentage. Gattis can flat out hit and can contribute well for the team while making his spot starts behind McCann and in the outfield, but there is no doubt he is having a great learning experience this season. In time, there is no doubt he should be the starting catcher sometime in the near future for the Braves.
As the legend of Evan Gattis grows, the fate of Brian McCann seems to slide out of a Braves uniform. I’m not ready to give Gattis the starting job over the six time all star in Brian McCann. He is only three years older than Gattis and offers much more leadership and game experience, and those things are very important when it comes to two players that have similar stats. Unless the Braves get an offer they simply can’t refuse, I expect to see McCann stick around at least until the end of this 2013 season.