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Going Deep: Evan Gattis is on Fire

Andy Patton takes a look at Evan Gattis' scorching hot-streak over the last month and if it's sustainable ROS.

(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

On May 11, Houston Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis was slashing a brutal .196/.264/.278 with just one home run. He was striking out 29.2% of the time and had a .082 ISO. Additionally, he had began to fall out of favor with the Astros coaching staff. Brian McCann and Max Stassi were splitting catching duties, and the Astros were mixing other guys in at DH. Gattis fantasy owners were dropping him like it was hot (sorry). It was understandable, as Gattis’ value comes primarily from being a catcher-eligible designated hitter who hits every day. Once that stopped happening, his value dissipated.

If you were one of the many who dropped Evan Gattis at this point in the season, I don’t blame you. I do, however, feel bad for you. Gattis likely isn’t on your waiver wire anymore, and there’s a pretty compelling reason why. From May 12 until now, the man they call El Oso Blanco has been on fire. His slash line since then is a blistering .308/.353/.720(!) with 13 home runs. His K-rate plummeted to 17.6%. His ISO is a ridiculous .411.

So what can we expect going forward? Gattis certainly isn’t as bad as he was to start the season. But he can’t be this good right?

Here’s a look at Gattis’ hard hit rate this season. May 11 was the 32nd game of the season, so you can clearly see that’s where the jump begins.

His hard hit rate on the season sits at 36.1%, a touch above his 34.4% career mark. So while it spiked for a short period it has returned to his roughly his career average. That’s a great sign for Gattis going forward.¬†Obviously hitting 13 home runs in a little over a months time is not sustainable long-term, and certainly Gattis’ 27.1% HR/FB rate will stabilize.

It is worth pointing out that Gattis is hitting more fly balls than ever before (47.1%) and is pulling the ball at a career-high rate (49.7%) as well. A hard-hit rate over 35% with an average launch angle of 20.1 degrees (nearly twice the big league average) is most certainly a recipe for dingers, even when the HR/FB rate inevitably regresses.

 

It’s been a tale of two seasons for El Oso Blanco. His abhorrent first six weeks and his off-the-charts last six weeks have sort of leveled his overall season numbers. His slash line on the year is .255/.311/.510, which is in line with his career .252/.304/.483 mark. I’d expect Gattis to finish the season around this mark as well, although he’ll likely go through some ups and downs on the path to get there.

As for the home runs, he’s at 14 through 62 games played. That tops all catcher eligible players. While the HR/FB rate will certainly stabilize, I don’t think 30 home runs is out of the question for Gattis this season. Hitting sixth in a loaded Astros lineup doesn’t hurt either, as it should afford the slugger plenty of RBI opportunities.

In summary, Evan Gattis won’t be nearly as bad as he was in April. He also won’t be as good (at least in the HR department) as he has been over the last month or so. That may not seem like rocket science, but it’s worth noting that something in the middle is still a very valuable fantasy asset, especially at the catcher position. Plus, while the home run numbers are elevated, most of what Gattis has done over the last month or so is not that far outside of what he is capable of. That’s to say that he has hit the ball hard and with a high launch angle for his entire career, so it’s not shocking to see him have a torrid stretch.

Evan Gattis has had a unique career. He’s a six-foot-four, 270 pound monster from Dallas, although he looks like he should have been born on a viking ship. He is known for his tremendous raw power, although his 128 career home runs through age 31 leave quite a bit to be desired. He’s only topped 30 round-trippers once, back in 2016. He’s a bit lumbering and unathletic, part of the reason he has transitioned away from catching and into a full-time DH role in Houston. However, perhaps my favorite Gattis fact is that he hit 11 triples in 2015, tied with Rajai Davis for third in the AL. He has yet to hit even a single one since then. This doesn’t have a ton of relevance, unless you want to quiz your friends on useless Evan Gattis trivia.

If Evan Gattis is still available in your league, he should absolutely be owned. The big slugger is almost guaranteed to finish as a top-ten catcher in most fantasy formats, with top-five not out of the question.

Andy Patton

Andy is the Dynasty Content Manager here at PitcherList. He manages all of the prospect content on the site, while also contributing a weekly article on dynasty deep sleepers, and the weekly hitter and pitcher stash lists. Andy also co-hosts the Never Sunny in Seattle podcast on the PitcherList Podcast Network, and separately hosts the Score Zags Score Podcast.

3 responses to “Going Deep: Evan Gattis is on Fire”

  1. AC says:

    ROS in a 9-team mixed OBP league, do you prefer Gattis or Cervelli?

    • Andy says:

      It really depends on team needs. I like Gattis slightly because he has an advantage in R/RBI/HR because of the lineup he’s in, whereas Cervelli will definitely contribute more OBP but less of everything else.

    • Chris says:

      For whatever it’s worth – I play in a 6×6 with OBP and XBH as categories and Gattis has been the #1 C-eligible player on their player rater for the last 7, 15, 30 days, and is also #1 on the season overall. For the first 3 splits it’s not even really close. As noted, this won’t sustain, and it’s even likely that if you’ve owned Oso in the past you’ll know he’s going to hit another infuriating slump somewhere along the way here, but the upside is too good. He’s a potential league-winner when he’s on.

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