Like much of the lineup, Evan Gattis has struggled with the Houston Astros so far in 2018. But it is far from time to panic about him yet!
Last season, Evan Gattis made huge sacrifices to his personal stats and playing time with Carlos Beltran on the roster. It paid off dividends for the team, aiding them in getting the Houston Astros their very first championship. With Beltran retiring, the DH reigns were handed back over to El Oso Blanco so that he would no longer be a forgotten player in this deep lineup.
Admittedly, it has not gone very well so far. Through 12 games so far, the bear is posting a concerning .200 batting average and an OPS below .600 as of this writing. Despite having 5 RBI among that stretch, he has yet to hit a home run.
No surprise, skipper A.J. Hinch gave him another day off on Sunday night against Bartolo Colon and the Texas Rangers. Yuli Gurriel, having stellar numbers against right handed pitching, manned the DH spot in that game. But that actually speaks more to what El Pina has done since returning from both a suspension and a DL stint.
It is also far from an indictment of Evan Gattis struggling so far in 2018. In fact, here are some reasons why fans need to take some collective breaths when it comes to what they are seeing so far from the bear.
April Showers and May Flowers
Evan Gattis goes through rough patches in April. Lest we all forget the first season he started as primary DH for the Astros, where he went 0 for his first 23? And if you don’t believe me, just check out this split specifically for the month of April for El Oso Blanco since moving to the American League:
*.234/.284/.389/.673 5 HR, 29 RBI, 49 SO
Clearly, it shows that he is constantly making the adjustments, but just running into bad luck. Pitchers seem to know what to throw to jam him that early. Nevertheless, once the calendar turns to May, look at what happens!
*.258/.308/.512/.820 15 HR, 40 RBI, 53 SO
*These stats come courtesy of ESPN.com.
There is no real plausible explanation for the switch of months. Except to say, the May flowers bloom big for Evan Gattis in the batter’s box. The strikeouts stay around the same, but his production definitely makes the surge.
Field of Dreams
Ironically, the two seasons where Evan Gattis didn’t struggle in April were his first two with the Atlanta Braves. With no DH option in the National League, he was able to field at his natural position as a catcher. Additionally, he can also field at first base and left field, although the second one is not advised!
This tidbit is reflected in the night and day splits between when Evan Gattis catches versus serving as a DH. Here is more from ESPN.com:
As a catcher: .291/.340/.596/.936 73 HR, 155 RBI 248 SO
As a DH: .235/.287/.422/.709 38 HR, 128 RBI 214 SO
More from House of Houston
- Are you the 2021 FanSided Sports Fan of the Year?
- Houston Texans: 4 reasons Romeo Crennel is right coach right now
- Astros-Twins Wild Card Series: 5 things to know as MLB postseason begins
- Houston Texans: The Most Underrated Sports Drought Ever
- Houston Texans: J.J. Watt’s early case for NFL Hall of Fame
The recent emergence of Max Stassi has made it difficult for the bear to get time behind the plate for some in-season reps. Hinch plans to put him in there at some point, but there is still no timetable for when this will happen.
Put Down the Torches and Pitchforks, Fans!
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Evan Gattis remains underrated in this league. Often, he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He gets overlooked for the hard work he puts in for this ball club and city. Instead, he is held to a different standard by fans just because he has not been put in the field yet in 2018.
That is still no reason for fans to take an all or nothing approach to his place on this team. Contrary to popular belief, he still does have one. Like the rest of the hitters, he will come around and have hot streaks. Those hot now will also have their share of stumbles throughout the year. That includes the star middle infielders, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.
If Evan Gattis continues having these numbers in August, I would be just as concerned as the rest of you. If not, more so than a good majority of fans if there is legitimate evidence that his hitting alone would cost games. But we are just three weeks in, and numbers will level themselves off for EVERYBODY!
It should also be noted that the Houston Astros are headed to Seattle and Chicago to face the Mariners and the White Sox, respectively. These are two teams and parks that Evan Gattis has slugged for higher than .500 in all of his career, with corresponding OPS numbers at or near .800 as well. Methinks some bear bombs are in the works!