Evan Gattis hit a first inning two-run home run to give the Atlanta Braves a 2-0 lead they would never relinquish in their 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night. Gattis finished the night 2-for-4 with the home run and a double to raise his batting average to .368 on the season.
The 26-year-old has now been in the lineup three consecutive games in the cleanup spot. With Freddie Freeman on the 15-day disabled list, Gattis can provide the pop in the middle of the order in his absence. So far, he has done just that. Gattis is second on the team in slugging (.737), OPS (1.137) and tied for second with two home runs through eight games.
Those who have followed Gattis or at least know his story know this hitting display should come as no surprise. Whether the minors, winter ball or spring training, Gattis has consistently hit for a high average and high OPS.
His offense has separated himself from Gerald Laird, but his defense thus far has allowed him to earn the full-time catcher spot. Gattis has not stood out behind the plate — something he’ll never do in his career, but is a good thing in this case.
He has made zero errors, has not been charged with a passed ball, and has thrown out the only base-stealer this season for the Braves. He has played solid defense behind the plate and looked like an everyday MLB catcher.
And that’s what he is right now. Gattis has temporarily won the starting catcher job with Brian McCann still rehabbing his injured shoulder, and he has earned it. It wasn’t handed to him out of spring training. A spot on the 25-man roster wasn’t even given to him. He has proven that he belongs at this level and shown he can handle the everyday catching duties for the time being. The more Gattis plays, the more he impresses.