2. Evan Gattis
Okay, Astros fans. I hear you! He only had a DH slash line of .219/.298/.410 in 2016, and has said that he feels more engaged in the game when he’s behind the dish.
No one sympathizes with that sentiment more than I do. The end result saw him slash for .295/.345/.657 when serving as the team backstop.
However, do not at all rule out Evan Gattis to take any DH at-bats in the 2017 season!
El Oso Blanco still possesses elite power in this game, and will remain an offensive threat throughout his career. His ISO of .257 last season and .234 ISO lifetime make him just the right player to have in the batter’s box in a pinch.
Climbing Tal's Hill
Questions still linger about just how much playing time that the Big White Bear will see. But those fears from everyone in the baseball world should be put to bed. And here’s why:
Evan Gattis battled through sports hernia surgery and another slow start with the bat to go with a 10 day crash course to get reacquainted back to catching. To many players, this would have been a near impossibility to come back from.
Never Say Never When It Comes to El Oso Blanco!
Despite the early hiccups, Gattis finished out the 2016 season strong. He set career high records for home runs (32), on-base percentage (.319), slugging percentage (.508), OPS (.827, second on the team only to that of Jose Altvue), walk percentage (8.7%), and pitches per plate appearance, or P/PA (3.85).
Had Gattis gotten another 53 at-bats for an even 500, he would have been well on his way to over 35, and possibly close to 40 long balls on the season. A more disciplined hitting bear = A more offensively productive bear!
His numbers on defense remain solid as well, with a 8% oStr and an RAA of 4.8 when behind the dish last year. While his blocking could use some tune up, Gattis is going to be a fantastic all around compliment to backstop bear twin, Brian McCann.
Honestly, no good manager would sit his home run leader of the past two seasons more than what’s necessary. While 2016 saw Gattis have 55 starts at catcher and 73 as a DH, let’s flip that script for 2017.