Evan Gattis journey has included being a ski lift operator and janitor. Now, Gattis can add MLB catcher to that list.
The 26-year-old slugger hit a home run in his second career at-bat in the Atlanta Braves’ 9-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night. Gattis led off the bottom of the fourth inning and promptly drove a Roy Halladay fastball over the left field fence to extend the Braves’ lead to 4-0. Broadcasters happened to be interviewing his dad during the at-bat to make the home run even more memorable. Gattis finished 1-for-4 on the night in his first start.
For those that have been following Gattis, it comes as no surprise to see him homer in his first game. He was largely an afterthought as a 23rd round draft choice in the 2010 MLB draft, but started making waves during the 2011 season at single-A Rome where he hit .322 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI. The Braves promoted him in 2012, and Gattis did not disappoint. In three stops, he hit .305, 18 home runs and 67 RBI.
It became more evident Gattis would be a factor on the 2013 team during his torrid spring training in which he finished second on the team in home runs (6) and RBI (16). With Brian McCann out for the first month, Gattis had an opening and seized the opportunity. No longer is Gattis an afterthought. In fact, manager Fredi Gonzalez stated that he could see “as much” or “more” playing time than Gerald Laird during this stint.
That all started on Tuesday with his first career start. It’s hard to imagine him not having success at the plate throughout this month. He’s proven to be a professional hitter, which will make for an interesting decision when McCann returns from his injury.
But, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Tuesday night’s opener was a huge success with the home run, playing sound defense and earning a win. It was exciting to finally see Gattis in an MLB game and will be fun to watch how his season and career plays out.