by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Evan Gattis is going to be extremely attractive as we enter 2014. Brian McCann is now in New York, which should clear playing time (even with the acquisition of Ryan Doumit). Throw in this line from 2013 and it makes a lot of sense:
354 At Bats
.243 Batting Average (86 Hits)
21 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.291 On Base Percentage
.480 Slugging Percentage
Before we all go and get too excited about the potential power production, we have to be extremely careful. There is as much chance, if not an even a greater chance, of him being a complete bust as opposed to a breakout star in 2014.
While the power looks alluring, looking at his HR/FB split is extremely important:
- First Half – 23.0%
- Second Half – 11.3%
I’m not about to say that there isn’t a lot of power in his bat, and maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle (at Double-A in 2012 he posted a HR/OFB rate of 16.1%). That said, the decline in the second half does have to open some eyes.
Is he going to hit 10 HR? Of course not, but I also wouldn’t pencil him in for 30. Even with increased playing time it would seem like a number in the 20 HR range is a fair assumption.
Now, if you coupled that with a solid average things would be different. However, Gattis’ skill set don’t promise much. The strikeouts aren’t outrageous at 21.1%, and there is hope for a little bit of an improvement (14.0% in the minors over the past three seasons). However he doesn’t walk much (5.5% in ’13) and failed to hit the ball with authority (14.5% line drive rate). Over the past three years in the minors his line drive rate sat at 13.4%, so there isn’t even hope that it changes dramatically.
Among players with at least 300 plate appearances in 2013 Gattis’ line drive rate was the second worst in the league (teammate Dan Uggla was the only one worse, with a 13.2% mark). In other words, where is the potential in the average department? If he hit .250 he’d be lucky, and chances are he falls short of that mark.
It’s not that difficult to find a catcher who hits 18 HR with a batting average of .250 or worse. Sure there’s some more upside in the power department, but he’s just not a name worth reaching for. I’d much rather take a chance on a Wilson Ramos or Alex Avila in the latter rounds as opposed to using an earlier selection on Gattis.
Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central