Evan Gattis Comes Full Circle

Evan Gattis Braves

Evan Gattis

The past few years the Atlanta Braves batting order has not had a guy you would automatically pencil in at the cleanup spot.  It has been cleanup by committee.

Now that Evan Gattis is the every day catcher, he is the logical choice to bat fourth.  I’m not breaking any new ground, here.  Fredi Gonzalez has already stated that Gattis will be his cleanup hitter this season.  This is the second and last time Fredi and I will most likely agree with the same positions in the order.

Gattis will have to improve his production at the cleanup spot over what he did last season.  Last season while batting fourth he hit .207, with  a .257 on-base-percentage and a paltry .374 slugging percentage.  But he did hit six  homers and knocked in 30 runs in 179 at bats in the cleanup spot.

The reason why I think Gattis will thrive in the number four spot, he has proven to be a clutch hitter.  Last season he came through in clutch, late game situations, better than any other player on the team and he also produced in the playoffs, hitting .357 against the Dodgers.

Gattis is an instinctive player who doesn’t over-analyze situations or his mechanics.  He sees the ball and he swings as hard as he can.  That will serve him well in the cleanup spot.

Last season the Braves used Gattis sporadically.  He started at the beginning of the season and was highly productive, but when Brian McCann came back from injury, Gattis’ playing time became inconsistent.  He also was bounced around between left field, first base and catcher.  With regular at bats and a defined role all season, I expect Gattis to have a big year.

The say that life oftentimes comes full circle.  When Evan Gattis was out of baseball and roaming around trying to find himself, he worked as a janitor.  That former janitor is now the cleanup hitter for the Atlanta Braves…

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Profile photo of Jim Hart About Jim Hart

Jim has covered the Atlanta Braves since 2008 for local and national broadcast news organizations. He also appears regularly talking Braves baseball on WCCP-FM in Clemson, South Carolina, and the ESPN Radio affiliate, 1420 Sports in St. Augustine, Florida.

  • NorthAlabamaGM

    Jim, you post good stuff:) I like Gattis better between two lefties in the 4 hole, or down in the 5th/6th spot as depicted below, mainly becasue he hasn’t proven he can be relied upon to consistently to produce. I would do this, if I haven’t mentioned it already:
    Heyward
    Uggla (has a history of producing in this spot, and a high OBP … usually)
    J Upton
    Freeman
    Gattis/Johnson (let these two figure out which spot they belong in
    Johnson/Gattis
    BJ Upton/Schafer
    Simmons
    Have a great day and Go Braves!

    • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

      Thanks NorthAlabama! You and I agree on some of the line-up and differ on others. Even though he was productive last year and there’s good arguments to keep Heyward in the lead-off spot, it just doesn’t feel right to me. (Am I a baseball purist? :)

  • Mike Crowe

    Yeah I like him at cleanup and I like his simple approach to hitting – same as another good hitter, Larry Walker – “See ball hit ball.” If I remember correctly I think Gattis hit better when he wasn’t catching. I don’t know about a big year and all ( opposing pitchers know what to expect now ) but if he finds some consistancy at the plate, can lay off that high heat and get some protection from the five hole hitter, he’ll be a good plug in for sure. He’s had a knack for coming through when it counts and the guy is just fun to watch.

    • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

      Gattis started out really well and then they platooned him. Then mid to late summer Fredi stopped playing him entirely for reasons no one knows. (Maybe not even Fredi). I think Gattis needs regular at bats to be effective and when he gets those this year he will show out.