Evan Gattis Is Not The Answer
In baseball, an organization’s actions sometimes provide a clear view into its organizational depth chart. Yesterday, the Atlanta Braves traded former first round pick Sean Gilmartin to the Minnesota Twins for “catcher” Ryan Doumit. The switch-hitter is nothing special, but provides depth at the position. Pair Gattis with Doumit and it becomes apparent the Braves are building a bridge to Christian Bethancourt, the team’s real catcher of the future.
In 2013, Gattis-Mania hit Atlanta in the form of “El Oso Blanco.” His hot start and back story resulted in Gattis becoming the talk of baseball early in the season. Overall, 21 home runs in just 382 plate appearances has his believers, and projection models, expecting a 30 home run season in 2014. Of course this assumes he’ll receive regular playing time to accumulate enough plate appearances for Gattis’ power to shine.
Not so fast.
In the first half of 2013, Gattis belted 14 home runs and took 14 walks. The second half saw those totals cut in half, while plate appearances and strikeouts were about the same. After May, Gattis posted monthly OPS’ of .567, .609, .438 and .780 respectively. One might point to his picking the production back up again late in the season, but a higher OPS came with a 2% walk rate. In fact, he failed to post an OBP of .300 in any of those months either.
Gattis too Major League Baseball by storm, the league adjusted and exploited his weaknesses the remainder of the season. Already 27 and with plenty of missed development time, can Gattis make adjustments?
If you own him in fantasy baseball leagues, it’s time to make that call.
In this new league I’m in, The Big Show, Gattis’ current owner traded a higher salaried catcher to free up a starting job. Given Gattis is a minimum-salaried option, it’s a solid move even if he produces at half his 2013 rate.
But in dynasty leagues without salary restrictions — especially those without the standard 5×5 categories, it’s time to sell if his value hasn’t already taken a hit. In a number of pieces, I’ve mentioned the shooting star effect with older players who surface at an older age. I doubt Gattis is an exception to the rule.
4 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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