Evan Gattis Needs to Work Harder Behind the Plate for Atlanta Braves
It’s an amazing feeling that Atlanta Braves fans must get when they see Evan Gattis at the plate. He has just extended his hitting streak to a franchise record of 20, for catchers, and during the streak, he has hit .386 with eight home runs. It’s never been a question, though, whether Gattis could hit major-league pitching or not, but his defense is what raised question marks.
The main concern with Gattis and his defense was the fact that he hasn’t even caught 100 games as a catcher in the big leagues. However, it seems like the organization is confident that he will straighten out his woes behind the plate as he catches more games. As a catcher, in 2014, he has five errors, recording a .989 fielding percentage, while the league average is just .991. That doesn’t sound too bad, but when watching any given Braves game, you may see Gattis late getting down to block a ball, or even trying to backhand a ball in the dirt instead of trying to field it properly.
Also, there has been quite a bit of trouble with Gattis and a few of the pitchers getting on the same page as the season has gone on. We have seen him and Ervin Santana go through a struggle before, with Santana shaking him off multiple times and stepping off the rubber. However, in the dugout, it seemed like the two got on the same page, with both giving each other a smile and pat on the back. Yet, against the Washington Nationals, it wasn’t all smiles after he and Julio Teheran couldn’t get on the same page. After shaking Gattis off multiple times, Teheran balked, which ended up leading to the Nats scoring their third run of a 3-0 win against their division foe. Teheran was less forgiving of Gattis in between innings and not much was said between the players while the cameras were rolling.
Yes, the offense is amazing, since he is hitting basically .300 with 16 home runs. However, if he wants to keep a place on the roster, he is going to have to work hard to keep his defense at a high level and continue working with pitchers to stay on the same page.