The Atlanta Braves just keep on winning, and the team’s hitters are taking turns carrying the load. Freddie Freeman picked up multiple hits in three of the team’s first five games. Then Justin Upton won NL Player of the Week, hitting .591 with four home runs over the second week of the season. Now it appears Evan Gattis is the next man up.
Over the past four games, Gattis has 10 hits in 17 at-bats for a .588 batting average. In the Braves’ 9-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, Gattis launched two home runs. He followed that up with a four-hit night on Wednesday with his solo home run off Cliff Lee providing the only run in the ballgame. Over the stretch, Gattis has raised his average from .200 to .378.
The Braves catcher showed in 2013 that he can be prone to hot and cold streaks, but as the main backstop this season he has a chance to break out. Gattis hit 21 home runs in only 354 at bats last season, and given a full season’s worth of plate appearances, he has the power to hit 35 home runs. Being able to start five games a week could help Gattis get more comfortable against big league pitching and bring his average up as well.
“El Oso Blanco” has always been an exceptional fastball hitter, but it’s been his balanced approach at the plate that’s been the key to his recent surge. Three of his four hits off Lee went to the right half of the diamond. He jumped on a hanging slider for one of his home runs on Monday, and the other was a shot over the right field wall. If he continues to show the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field and handle off-speed pitches, he can keep this hot stretch going.