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My Bold Prediction: Evan Gattis Will Hit 40 HR and Drive in 120 RBI
The White Bear. The man with the wittiest nickname in the game, Evan Gattis. Surely after reading the title you think I’m crazy, don’t worry, it’s a normal reaction. There are some things in baseball that just make you sit in your chair and go “whoa.” That was my reaction the first time I saw Evan Gattis hit a home run. He had an up and down season, but in the end he was sure of one thing; Evan Gattis is going to have a monster season in 2014. So sit back and let me try to turn your doubtful opinion into one of understanding and acceptance.
First things first, let’s talk about what the bear-man did last season. Gattis first caught my eye in spring training. If you haven’t read the Gattis story, Google it. Dude went from being a janitor to playing professional baseball in one year. Because of this, he was relatively unknown entering last year. That was until he used the tree trunk he calls a bat to hit 6 home runs in just 57 at-bats while hitting an all-star .368 in spring training. While yes, this was a small taster, it was enough to convince the Braves to put him on their MLB roster to start the season. It’s easy to see what the Braves were thinking. If you just look at the guy, you can see what got them excited. Gattis is a one-man lumberjack, standing at 6’4″, 230 pounds; his power was no accident. If you need any convincing about his natural ability, consider that he hit the longest ball in the majors last year at 486 ft. You know, so there’s that.
The second thing I’d like to point out is that Gattis is reaching his prime at 27 in 2014. There has been a lot of statistical evidence pointing to 27 being the age when players enter their prime, for which I will not go into details. detail about that. This may seem strange to some because Gattis was a rookie in 2013, but as I said before, Gattis didn’t exactly have the typical path to the majors. Usually, when you see a 26-year-old rookie, you’re looking at a AAAA player, but not Gattis. This means we have yet to see Gattis in his physical prime, which, if you look at it, is a little hard to believe. This brings me to my final point, Gattis hit close to 40 home run numbers last year, they were just in disguise.
Let’s take a look at Gattis’ season last year: .243 AVG, .291 OBP, 21 HR, 65 RBI. OK, now let’s put that in context; he did it in just over half a season at bat, .354. That will change in 2014, however, as McCann has brought his talents to the Big Apple leaving the starting job to Mr. Evan Gattis. With most catchers, I’d say it would be hard to get 600 at-bats because they often have one day a week to sit out, but considering Gattis can also play the outfield, I think it’s definitely something he can pull off. If we take what Gattis did last year and project what he might have been like if he played every day, you get 35 HR, 110 RBI. That’s a beast of a receiver, enough to bypass the AVG and OBP. Now I know those numbers are a bit below my projection, but I have a perfectly reasonable explanation for that and it requires some digging.
If we mention Gattis’ first and second half splits from last year, you can see that the power somewhat dropped with 14 HRs in the first half and just 7 HRs in the second half. When I saw this, I thought it was weird considering most of these other numbers were on par, so I started digging. That’s when I mentioned his flyball rate split numbers from last year. Now, if Gattis was going through some sort of funk, we’d expect his flyball rate to drop a bit, and we did see a bit from 47.3 to 42.2, but not enough to make up the difference. Now if you look at his HR/FB% you can see the gauge, he dropped from a ridiculous 23% in the first half to 11.3% in the second half. 11.3 is a really low number for a guy like Gattis and this may be an indicator that the guy wasn’t having any luck. This is where I think those 5 home runs will come from. Hopefully, if he’s nice to them, the baseball gods will let it go and he can get through an entire season without bad luck.
So what does it all mean? It means that Evan Gattis is a were-bear and is poised to take the fantasy baseball catching position to a new level and if you don’t step up right now, you’ll be shaking your head by the end of the season. I don’t think I’ve had any crazy arguments here, and I hope you agree. I don’t think the general fantasy player population has picked up on Gattis yet, so I think he’s going to be a huge steal in 2014. One piece of advice I would give is if you’re going to draft Gattis, I would consider him. recruiting a high average guy to make up for it, because that’s something he struggles with. But no one is perfect, right? It wouldn’t be fair to the rest of us if he did everything.
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