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Braves plan to move Evan Gattis to left field on a full-time basis

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John Hart revealed the team's plan to move the former catcher to the outfield.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

If you were revolted by the Braves' offensive woes in 2014, take that disgust and multiply it tenfold, because John Hart is now saying that Evan Gattis is slated to be moved to left field on a full-time basis, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

Gattis, who has the speed of an elderly tortoise and the acceleration of an over-capacity cement truck, served as the Braves' starting catcher in 2014 when he wasn't injured. Gattis was below-average defensively and struggled at times with game calling and rhythm with the pitching staff, which is probably why the team isn't eager to keep the twenty-eight year old behind the plate.

But, left field?

Assuming the team doesn't trade him to an AL squad, it seems as if the team is ready to insert Christian Bethancourt as the team's catcher and move Gattis to left field in an attempt to give some life to the team's offense. As you can probably discern from my tone, however, this is an exceedingly bad idea. Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we?


It's one thing if a player has a below-average, or even poor, glove and absolutely rakes at the dish. Gattis is an above-average hitter with some pop in his bat, sure. But is his bat good enough to compensate for his outfield defense? Gattis put up a 125 wRC+ in 2014, meaning that he was 25% better than the average hitter. He got some BABIP help, but I'm still comfortable in believing that he'll probably be above-average again in 2015. Steamer projects him to produce a .243/.295/.444 line, good for a 105 wRC+, but I'd probably take the over to the tune of a mark near 110 or 115.

But, his defense (or lack thereof) is going to absolutely kill any positive value his bat brings. Gattis has played 342.1 career innings in the outfield, which equates to about 38 games' worth of outfield play. Guess how many runs he's cost the Braves in those innings?

If you believe DRS, 10. If you believe UZR, 7. Either way, it isn't pretty.

Gattis simply is not an outfielder. He doesn't have the skill set, the mobility, or any more than the most rudimentary experience as an outfielder. If the Braves actually allow him to roam the outfield, he could set records for one of the most abysmal defensive seasons ever. It would truly be that bad.

We'll see how this plays out, and I still think there's a strong chance that Gattis is dealt this offseason, but this revelation is, uh, disturbing.

Update: Apparently Gattis knows nothing about all of this and nothing is finalized.