With janitor-turned-catcher Evan Gattis off to a red hot start and six-time all-star Brian McCann set to return soon, the Atlanta Braves are faced with an ideal yet difficult decision. Things are going well when you’re 11-1 and the only dilemma is finding enough playing time for two great catchers. While there may not be a worry in the world for Braves fans, this situation could be problematic for fantasy baseball owners.
McCann has begun his rehab assignments and is on pace to return around May 1st while Gattis continues to destroy major league pitching. There has been no official word as to how the situation will be managed upon McCann’s return but the writing is on the wall for a platoon. With McCann a lefty and Gattis a righty, it’s easy to predict a full-blown time share between the two talented catchers.
Because of his long, established career with Atlanta, most people are assuming that McCann will regain the starting job upon his return. McCann is only 29-years-old but in catchers years that’s more like 35. Atlanta would be smart to limit his time behind the plate to help avoid further injury. McCann is also set to enter free agency at the conclusion of the 2013 season so Atlanta may be more partial to Gattis as their catcher going forward.
This isn’t to say that McCann will return into a backup role but playing time could be split down the middle. Gattis is capable of playing left field but with Justin Upton looking like an MVP, there is very minimal playing time to be had there. This is a nightmare for fantasy owners unless they are able to carry both catchers and rotate them based on the matchups.
While this is a great situation for the Braves who will able to keep two top catchers fresh all season, this is a nightmare for fantasy owners. A smart recommendation for Gattis owners would be to stash McCann immediately if he is available. If you are stuck with only one out of the pair then make sure you have a serviceable backup.