Friday, August 2, 2013

Evan Gattis: The Book Is Out

The story The tale The legend of Evan Gattis is easily available.  The conquering of the personal demons that derailed his career followed up with video game numbers that he put up in the minors last year and a dash of a Venezualan Winter League run that gave him a catchy name...when you tell your children that you can do anything you set your mind to, Evan Gattis is the example.  Add in all of the cute little Gattis Facts, the hyper aggressive merchandising effort by the Braves, and his twitter avatar...and countless other fun things related to Gattis...

Let's just say that at the end of the day, Gattis has made hoards of fans.  It must be difficult for fans of other teams to not root for him.  You don't get the attitude and ridiculous fanboying of Yasiel Puig.  Just straight up guy makes good only a few years after being at the bottom.

Add in a start that Hollywood couldn't even think of...though, to be fair, Hollywood is out of ideas.  Homered in his first game against Roy Halladay and in three of four games within two weeks in the majors.  A couple of pinch-hit two-run shots for game-winners.  A Grand Slam against the Twins.  Things were going good.

However, since May 31st, something seemed to happen.  At your local bookstore, there was a new release called "How To Get Out Evan Gattis."  It was quickly a best seller.  It has been studied, highlighted, and discussed at NL pitcher book clubs.  After entering May 31st with a .285/.333/.628, Gattis has tumbled.  Since then, he has hit .195/.253/.310 in his last 26 games, all but three of them as starts.  And he has been a regular since returning off the DL, starting all 15 games since July 14th.  After feeling him out for two months before the book became available, the pitchers figured out to tame El Oso Blanco and it seems so far, Gattis has struggled to adjust.

Listen, rookies tend to go through this.  Gattis literally came out of nowhere.  The scouting report on him couldn't have been very thorough considering his quick rise through the minors.  It took awhile for the advanced scouting to get their reports to their employers and for those reports to become a way to get Gattis out.

The problem, of course, is that the Atlanta Braves need to know if Gattis has the capability to be an everyday starter behind the plate.  Brian McCann has been out of his mind this season, slugging 15 homers and showing that his shoulder issues of last season are in the past.  It's not a secret that McCann will be a free agent at the end of the year.  Gattis, who the team has control of for five seasons, was clearly the guy to replace McCann next year back in mid-May, but now things aren't so sure.  Atlanta might be willing to see what it will take and for how long it will take to keep McCann with the Braves.  If Yadier Molina was worth $75M over five seasons, how much would McCann be worth?  And how much will players like Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Mike Minor, Craig Kimbrel, and others get in arbitration?

The last two months will be important for Gattis.  He needs to adjust and get going again.  Otherwise, Atlanta's decision-making will be a hell of a lot more complicated this offseason.  Plus...if Gattis doesn't start to hit, how will we ever get more merchandise options from the Braves?  Wouldn't that be the saddest thing?

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