One thing you won’t hear spouted off very often is anything regarding the defensive skills of Brian McCann. With that said, his bat is one of the best amongst catchers in the NL. But with Evan Gattis on the roster now (at a fraction of the cost) and Christian Bethancourt (the highly touted prospect in the Atlanta Braves’ farm system) on the horizon, the cost of McCann makes little sense.
It’s obvious that the nine-year veteran will be moving on this offseason, probably somewhere up north to an AL team.
So with Atlanta’s longtime beloved catcher departing the city, Gattis will have the opportunity to become an everyday defensive player. The 27-year-old who just completed his rookie year was too much of an offensive threat in the 2013 season to have him on the bench, so with the struggles of B.J. Upton putting an offensive hole in the lineup, Gattis found himself playing left field for the latter part of the season, including the playoffs.
I cannot overstate what I am about to say; I never want to see Gattis playing in the outfield ever again. He’s an outstanding player and gives 100 percent in every opportunity that is provided to him, but he’s not built for the outfield. His legs are built for transferring momentum into baseballs and sending them over far-off walls; they are not built for running quickly or really doing anything that one would describe as “agile” on the field.
Like McCann, Gattis won’t ever be an elite defender behind the plate, but his offensive abilities make up for that shortcoming. Unfortunately, he didn’t have too many opportunities behind the plate in 2013, but he has demonstrated before that he is fully capable of filling that role. He won’t be anything close to a Yadier Molina defensively, but at less than $500,000 a season, Gattis is the best dollar-for-dollar catcher in the game.
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