Gattis earns promotion to Double-A Mississippi

Evan Gattis started making an impression with his batting practice home runs as a non-roster invitee in spring training, and he hasn’t stopped. The 25-year-old journeyman, who re-invented himself after a stint in drug rehab derailed his college career, just earned a promotion to Double-A Mississippi.

The Braves had already moved Gattis from catcher to left field for four or five games to try to take better advantage of his offensive prowess. On Monday they saw an opportunity to move him up after catching prospect Christian Bethancourt injured his hamstring on Sunday.

Braves assistant general manager Bruce Manno said Gattis will continue playing predominantly left field but catch occasionally and DH when applicable. Gattis was hitting .385 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs in 21 games for the high Single-A Lynchburg Hillcats.

“This was an opportunity to get him to the next level and challenge him offensively and still continue the process (of learning the outfield),” Manno said. “Because now he can go there and he can catch and he can also continue his work in the outfield.”

Matthew Kennelly will do most of the catching in Bethancourt’s absence. The Braves are hoping his injury is just a 7-10 day thing, but when he returns Gattis will still occasionally catch. That’s a skill the Braves would like to see him keep over time.

And if he keeps hitting the ball as well as he has, he could find himself one of the Braves September call-ups.

“If he goes down there and swings the bat and keeps doing what he’s been doing, why not?” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “But that’s a long way away. I just hope the kid keeps doing well. I really like him. He’s a good teammate. Good story. He’s one of the guys you pull for, the way he’s worked.”

20 comments Add your comment

Mike in TX

April 30th, 2012
6:36 pm

Gotta pull for the guy. Hope he tears it up there in Pearl. Beautiful stadium by the way, too.

Brave Decisions

April 30th, 2012
6:38 pm

It’s about time, hope this man rakes! http://wp.me/p2lqJ1-5y

Tombklyn

April 30th, 2012
6:45 pm

God Bless the child who comes around………….

richbrave

April 30th, 2012
7:26 pm

‘Big Jim’ on the way up.

I wonder if he’s cured that swing since ST. The times i saw him, he was way out on that front foot and reaching for low and off-speed stuff.

From the results in the Carolina League it doesn’t sound like he’s suffering from those hitting ills

Well, we get to see if he can hit real pitching now.

WBuckATC

April 30th, 2012
8:07 pm

I do not like the wordJourneyman as referred to Gattis. althoguh it took him a while to get into pro ball, he was drafted by the has only played in the Braves organization. A journeyman as I consider it someone like former Braves: Bruce Chen, Pete Orr, Ryan Langerhans and even Jeff Francouer. Consider the number of organizations they have bounceed around with since leaving the Braves.
An power hiting outfielder who can also catch would be an awesome asset to the Braves.

kmarshall 4

April 30th, 2012
8:17 pm

he has been killin it what took so long!!!!!

poison avery

April 30th, 2012
8:27 pm

Is Langerhans still playing?

WBuckATC

April 30th, 2012
9:20 pm

Langerhans still at it. He is wiht Salt lake (PCL – AAA) in the Angels system. He is hitting 273 and has 2 homers. That is two more than Albert P has for the Angels.
Langerhans had the D to play anywhere in the outfield, but could not get the bat gogin to match his defensive skills.

PaBraveFan

April 30th, 2012
9:21 pm

Saw him play yesterday in his last game with Lynchburg. He had 2 doubles, and 2 walks before they took him out. He has a great approach at the plate and has a very good eye. I hope he continues, we could use a power hitting left fielder/catcher. Great story!!

j-brave

April 30th, 2012
9:34 pm

I know it’s unlikely but wouldn’t it be awesome if Gattis could just dominate the minors, come up, and rake, a la Josh Hamilton…a superstar in the making

Scottbravesfan

May 1st, 2012
12:27 am

People are saying he is not a prospect because he is 25 but people need to remember he took 4 years off so his development track is like that of a 21 year old. I hope he makes it to the bigs.

atlol

May 1st, 2012
6:45 am

Consider that the Clev Browns spent a 1st round draft choice on a 28-year-old QB, and 25-years at AA does not look to bad.

snoopy

May 1st, 2012
11:16 am

pulling for you kid!!

Heisenberg

May 1st, 2012
12:13 pm

It is great to read about the prospects coming up. But I cannot help but wonder how this plays out in a couple years. You have Gattis playing OF/C and Bethancourt also a C. Major league rosters are a zero sum game so if Gattis is playing a corner OF spot then Prado or Heyward could be in jeopardy as being more expensive and closer to FA. Would Bethancourt take Ross place as the backup when he is ready? Or would the cost to keep BMac after his current deal tuns out be be too steep for a catcher going into his 30’s?

Braves have done a decent job of building some depth. Past few years when the prospects were ready, making room was not a problem, but I can see some hard decisions having to be made on popular players in next couple years.

Murph's a Hall of Famer

May 1st, 2012
12:31 pm

Heisenberg….I know exactly what you’re saying! I think, with cash constraints, we will only be able to sign either McCann or Hanson. This is obviously considering the find a way to sign Bourn after this year. The easy path is to say let Hanson walk with our perceived pitching depth, but knowing you have these studs in the minors, do you let BMac walk instead? I think we would miss the leadership McCann brings more than his play.

Heisenberg

May 1st, 2012
12:46 pm

I have been in favor of trading Hansen (and JJ) ever since they both switched agents. Even now closing in on first place in middle of season I would trade Hansen at or before deadline. JJ is unmoveable now, but would wove him as soon as he can be moved. There is enough pitching depth to fill their spots and neither of those 2 will extend without hitting open market.

[...] Evan Gattis was leading the Carolina League in batting average, home runs, RBI, hits and extra base hits [...]

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