When Spring Training started in 2013 there were few who expected Evan Gattis to be anything other than the Atlanta Braves’ backup catcher until Brian McCann returned from injury. Gattis was a liability on defense and okay on offense but was bound to head back to the minors. That was all well and good except that Gattis didn’t really like it as a plan.
Gattis went on to have a storied rookie season that included becoming a magic bat off the bench at one point during the season. He did give the starting catching job up when McCann returned but as 2014 Spring Training begins the job is all his. They do have a couple of more catchers but for sure the job of starting catcher is his to lose.
Don’t be surprised if Gattis rips the cover off of the ball this spring as well. Last year he hit for a .368 average with 6 home runs and 16 RBI. That led to a great rookie season considering he was about 170 to 200 at-bats short of what he will put up this year. He has said that he feels much the same going into this spring season but just more comfortable.
That could be a big plus for him to settle in before the start of the season. I think Gattis is going to hit for power. The question will be if he can up his batting average and get into the everyday catching grove that he’ll need before the start of the season. Last season a little more than half of his spring games were spent behind the plate. Look for the Braves to try to get him regular work back there this year. It should be another powerful year for El Oso Blanco.