Is There A Catching Controversy Brewing In Atlanta?
When Brian McCann went on the DL to start the 2013 season, the Atlanta Braves had question marks as to who they would put behind the plate. Now it seems they have question marks as to who to keep behind the plate for good. Evan Gattis came out of no where to start this season and has made a name for himself throughout April. And now McCann has found himself some competition coming back from shoulder surgery.
So you’re probably wondering, who is Evan Gattis? Well that’s what a lot of people are saying after Gattis has started the season with 7 homeruns and 19 RBIs. Gattis is from Dallas, Texas and was a highly prized high school prospect playing with the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Austin Jackson, Billy Butler, and future Braves teammate Justin Upton on various teams while he was in high school. Gattis was projected to be picked in the 8th round of the 2004 MLB Draft but opted to go to college instead and accepted a scholarship to play at Texas A&M, where he never played one inning. Gattis was instead admitted to an alcohol and drug recovery center because he had started misusing them his senior year in high school. Instead of playing at Texas A&M, Gattis did not go to college and had many different jobs including a car valet, ski lift operator, pizza cook, house cleaner, and janitor. In 2007 Gattis was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety and he admits he seriously wanted to kill himself. He finally got back on the diamond though and in 2010 was drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round.
Now we all know who Brain McCann is, 6 time All-Star catcher for the Atlanta Braves. Before Justin Upton was acquired, you could argue that McCann was Atlanta’s best player. Now that Gattis has done so well and they know what McCann can do, Fredi Gonzalez has some tough decisions to make. Gonzalez could go 1 of 3 ways and they are simple. Play McCann, play Gattis, or alternate them every other game. The only reason I say alternate is because the Braves’ rival the Washington Nationals do a similar thing with Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos. They just switch off every night and it has actually worked very well. The problem some would have with that is that they think Gattis could lose his momentum or go on a cold streak which is a very valid point. It is a very tough decision and Managers across the major leagues have to make decisions like this day in and day out, but this one is very intriguing and it should be fun to see how it plays out.