#Braves Gattis likely to play LF on Saturday. McCann catches today and Friday, Laird on Saturday.— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) May 9, 2013
I'm exceptionally glad that Atlanta Braves rookie Evan Gattis is in the Major Leagues, and that the Braves, as Dave O'Brien suggests above, seem committed to keeping him there. His story is amazing, quitting baseball in 2006, wandering from odd job to odd job, searching for some kind of enlightenment, and battling depression for four years until coming back to the game in 2010. There’s a movie in there somewhere, and it’s going to be a good one. Baseball is better with him in the game.
He had tremendous success to start the season, hitting .289/.349/.658 with four homers through his first ten games, and even though he’s hit just .215/.246/.446 since, the memory of his start is probably enough that he'll have a job for a couple seasons. But let's not kid ourselves about him long term.
Evan Gattis is not likely to be a good Major Leaguer. Coming into the season, he was a 26 year old with less than 50 games of experience above A-ball. And while he mashed that those stops, he was consistently one of the oldest players in his leagues. Yes, he was incredibly raw, but he was also far more physically mature. And with his mediocre patience, Gattis is going to need to hit above .270 to post an OBP above .300. Indeed, through 112 plate appearances, he has just 6 walks to his credit.
Gattis is a tremendous story, and having him in the game is good for it and for us. But don’t make him out to more than he is: a poor man’s Jim Leyritz. He doesn’t have to be a superstar to be inspiring, and pretending he is does him a disservice because it implies that his story and play isn’t enough on its own, without the buttress of that false narrative. And all the attention he’s getting will only lead to disappointment when he fails to fulfill those lofty expectations. Let the man be who he is, and enjoy that. I plan to.