Evan Gattis

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Evan Gattis
Evan Gattis on April 7, 2013.jpg
Evan Gattis catching for the Braves
Atlanta Braves – No. 24
Catcher / Left fielder
Born: (1986-08-18) August 18, 1986 (age 27)
Dallas, Texas
Bats: RightThrows: Right
MLB debut
April 3, 2013 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
(through 2013 season)
Batting average.243
Home runs21
Runs batted in65
Teams
 
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Evan Gattis
Evan Gattis on April 7, 2013.jpg
Evan Gattis catching for the Braves
Atlanta Braves – No. 24
Catcher / Left fielder
Born: (1986-08-18) August 18, 1986 (age 27)
Dallas, Texas
Bats: RightThrows: Right
MLB debut
April 3, 2013 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
(through 2013 season)
Batting average.243
Home runs21
Runs batted in65
Teams

James Evan Gattis (born August 18, 1986) is an American professional baseball player. He is currently a catcher and left fielder with the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut with the Braves on April 3, 2013.

Gattis was a premier amateur baseball player in the Forney, Texas, area through high school. However, anxiety and substance use led him to abandon his scholarship to Texas A&M University. After wandering around the Western United States for four years, he returned to baseball, and was drafted by the Braves in 2010.

After playing in minor league baseball for the Braves, Gattis made the team's Opening Day roster in 2013. Receiving playing time with Brian McCann on the disabled list, Gattis won the National League Rookie of the Month Award for both April and May 2013.

Early life[edit]

Gattis grew up in Forney, Texas and played baseball from the time he was six years old. He played for the Dallas Tigers, one of the premier amateur teams in the Dallas area.[1] He attended high schools in the Forney area, including R. L. Turner High School, Forney High School, and Bishop Lynch High School, in order to play for specific coaches.[1]

Undrafted out of high school,[2] Gattis committed to attend Texas A&M University on a baseball scholarship.[3] Terrified by the prospect of failing at college baseball, Gattis began to self-medicate his anxiety with alcohol and marijuana.[3] Instead of going to college, his mother took him to a drug rehabilitation facility where he had a 30-day inpatient stay. He then went to Prescott, Arizona, where he had three months of outpatient therapy.[3]

Gattis enrolled at Seminole State College, a junior college in Oklahoma, after receiving a phone call from the team's coach. Gattis redshirted as a freshman and played for half a season in 2006.[3] He injured his knee at Seminole State, became burned out on baseball, and quit.[1]

Wandering[edit]

Gattis' first job after quitting baseball was as a parking valet in Dallas.[4] He then visited his sister in Boulder, Colorado, and decided to reside there. He sold his truck and worked in a pizza parlor and for a resort as a ski-lift operator at the Eldora Mountain Resort.[3]

Seven months later, Gattis moved to Dallas with his brother, where they worked as janitors for Datamatics Global Services. He met a spiritual advisor there, and on her advice, he followed her to Taos, New Mexico.[3] There, he lived in a hostel and worked at a ski resort. Three months later, he moved to California to find more spiritual gurus.[3] Gattis also moved to Wyoming, where he worked at Yellowstone National Park.[1]

Return to baseball[edit]

College and minor leagues[edit]

Gattis decided to return to baseball in 2010. His step-brother, Drew Kendrick, was a college baseball player at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB). Brian Reinke, the coach of the UTPB Falcons, remembered Gattis from his high school career, and offered him a spot on the team.[1][5] That season, he had a .403 batting average and 11 home runs.[3] He was named the Heartland Conference's player of the week for the week ending February 7,[6] and to the Conference's post-season first team.[5]

The Atlanta Braves selected Gattis in the 23rd round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. He batted .288 with four home runs in 35 games for the Danville Braves of the Rookie-level Appalachian League that year.[5] He failed to make the opening day roster of any Braves minor league team in 2011, and remained in extended spring training.[7] He was added to the roster of the Rome Braves of the Class A South Atlantic League (SAL) in May. Twice named the SAL player of the week,[5] Gattis won the SAL batting title that season[3] and was named to the post-season all-star team.[5]

Gattis started the 2012 season with the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League. After starting the season with a .385 batting average, nine home runs, and 29 runs batted in (RBIs) in 21 games, he was promoted to the Mississippi Braves of the Class AA Southern League at the end of April.[8] With Brian McCann starting for the Braves and top prospect Christian Bethancourt regarded as an excellent catcher, Gattis was shifted to left field.[9] After the regular season, he played in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he batted .303 with 16 home runs and a .595 slugging percentage in 53 games, leading the league in home runs and slugging percentage.[10] He earned the nickname "El Oso Blanco", Spanish for "the White Bear".[7]

Major leagues[edit]

The Braves invited Gattis to spring training in 2013.[11] With a 19-for-53 (.358) performance in the Grapefruit League and McCann starting the season on the disabled list, the Braves added Gattis to their Opening Day roster to share catching duties with Gerald Laird.[7] On April 3, 2013, Gattis made his major league debut. He recorded his first hit as a major leaguer, a home run off of Roy Halladay, in his second at bat while his father was being interviewed live by the Braves' television broadcast.[10] He batted .333 in his first eight games, also homering off of Stephen Strasburg.[2] Gattis was named the National League Rookie of the Month for April 2013, in which he batted .250 and led all major league rookies with six home runs, a .566 slugging percentage (SLG), 16 RBIs, and 43 total bases.[12]

Following the return of McCann from the disabled list and an injury to outfielder Jason Heyward, Gattis began to play left field for the Braves in May.[13] Gattis was again named Rookie of the Month for the month of May, after batting .303 with a .362 on-base percentage and a .683 SLG for the month, while leading all rookies with 16 RBIs and tying Jedd Gyorko for most home runs as a rookie with six. Gattis became the first rookie to win consecutive Rookie of the Month awards since Heyward in 2010.[14] Gattis was on the disabled list from June 19 through July 14 with a strained oblique muscle.[15][16]

With a 5-for-36 (.139) slump in August and McCann catching regularly, Gattis began to lose playing time.[17][18] The Braves sent Gattis to the Gwinnett Braves of the Class AAA International League on August 31 so that he could play regularly.[18] They recalled him on September 3, when the International League season ended.[19] On September 11, Gattis launched a home run off of Miami Marlins rookie sensation Jose Fernandez at Marlins Park, the ball traveled at a speed of 106 mph off the bat and into the left field stands before hitting a fan in the crotch 411 feet away. The fan winced over in pain and reportedly lost a shoe in the incident. [20] On September 8 against Cole Hamels, Gattis recorded the longest home run of 2013, calculated at 486 feet (148 m), which was also the longest home run in the history of Citizens Bank Park. Later in that same game Gattis hit another 400+ foot home run off of Hamels after flying out to the warning track in a previous at bat. Hamels was quoted as saying "I felt like I was throwing a golf ball and he had a driver. He's probably going to be in the strongest man competition."[17][21][22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Sherrington, Kevin (July 3, 2010). "Area athlete's long road leads back to baseball". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Glier, Ray (April 19, 2013). "From Janitor to Rookie, Hitting Fourth for Braves". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i O'Brien, David (February 29, 2012). "Braves slugger Gattis has a story. Man, does he ever". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  4. ^ Castrovince, Anthony (April 23, 2013). "Gattis came a long way on amazing journey: From odd jobs to Turner Field, Braves catcher took path rarely traveled to big leagues". MLB.com. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Former UTPB Standout Making Most Of Professional Opportunity". Odessa American. September 25, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  6. ^ "College baseball: Gattis picks up Heartland Conference honor". Odessa American. February 9, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Bowman, Mark (March 27, 2013). "Gattis wins spot on Braves' Opening Day roster: Young slugger's amazing journey leads him to Atlanta as backup catcher". MLB.com. Retrieved March 27, 2013. 
  8. ^ Rogers, Carroll (April 30, 2012). "Gattis earns promotion to Double-A Mississippi". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 31, 2012. 
  9. ^ O'Brien, David (May 8, 2012). "Late-arriving Braves prospect Evan Gattis keeps slugging". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b O'Brien, David (April 3, 2013). "Gattis homers in debut, Braves pound Phillies 9-2". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Evan Gattis Wanders His Way Back to Baseball". USA Today. Associated Press. February 22, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Evan Gattis of the Atlanta Braves voted National League Rookie of the Month for April and May". MLB (Press release). MLB.com. May 2, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2013. 
  13. ^ Rogers, Carroll (May 6, 2013). "Gattis gets first major league taste of left field". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  14. ^ Kruth, Cash (June 3, 2013). "For second straight month, Gattis top NL rookie: Braves utility player earns honors for May after also winning April award". MLB.com. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ http://mlb.si.com/2013/06/18/braves-gattis-injury/
  16. ^ Braves activate Evan Gattis from DL
  17. ^ a b Corcoran, Cliff (September 9, 2013). "Watch: Evan Gattis hits longest home run of 2013 season | The Strike Zone - SI.com". Mlb.si.com. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Atlanta Braves send slumping Evan Gattis to Triple-A Gwinnett - ESPN". Espn.go.com. August 31, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Braves recall Evan Gattis from Gwinnett". Gainesville Times. September 3, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  20. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/12/evan-gattis-home-run-hits-fan_n_3916260.html
  21. ^ Monagan, Matt. "Pure power: Evan Gattis crushes the longest home run of 2013 | MLB.com". Wapc.mlb.com. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  22. ^ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1766983-evan-gattis-blasts-mlbs-longest-home-run-of-2013-off-cole-hamels

External links[edit]