Bill Shanks talks about what might happen with the emerging Evan Gattis.
Gattis Hungrier Than Ever
"I saw him hit batting practice one day [chuckles]. And the first day I saw him hit, the way the ball was coming off his barrel it was unbelievable," Ingram said.
"It's loud and it's quick. That's something that you can't teach and when he hits the ball it's coming fast. I noticed him right away."
As soon as he got his chance, Gattis, made the most of it by lighting it up in Lynchburg earlier this year.
"I really feel that I got off to a really start this year," Gattis said. "I felt that during all of Spring Training I was barely missing balls, getting really close, and after a few games into the season I really started to get locked in and having a good year."
"This kid, he's got a special bat," Ingram bragged. "Keep your eye on this kid because he's going to hit a ton. When he hits the ball it has got that special, distinctive sound. He leaves you asking yourself, ‘How did he hit that ball so far?'"
But, a special bat alone is not enough to progress as fast as Gattis has. He has to have something else going for him.
"He's a hard worker. Gattis is the type of guy that you would love to go to war with on the field," Ingram beamed. "He's gonna give you a 100 percent.
"The thing with him is that he wants to learn. Sometimes you get players who think they know it all or don't need help and he's not like that."
Along with his hitting ability, him being so coachable has only improved his game. Gattis is beginning to get other people to believe in his game as he climbs up the ranks, and he is enjoying every bit of it, especially now the he has been promoted to Double-A.
"It's awesome. I was really happy," Gattis said of his promotion earlier in the season. "I was kinda wondering when it was going to happen. But, it's awesome. You know, it's an honor."
If you know Gattis' story you understand his drive to play the game. Most guys his age no longer have the opportunity that he has. Gattis is well aware that time is not on his side. He's going full steam ahead as is evident by his workload.
"He's one of the only kids I've seen in a long time to do this. We'll be in the cage with the machine and we'll have it up really fast throwing fastballs. He gets up halfway to the machine, and he's hitting them. If you sit around and hear Heyward hit, Chipper Jones hit, this kid's got the same sound coming off his barrel," Ingram opined.
Apparently, Gattis is just that good, but he is also human. Gattis suffered and unfortunate injury as he was beginning to peak.
"A partial tear in a tendon in my right wrist," is what the doctors told him it was.
"It was more scary at first just because I had it in a hard cast and couldn't move it at all for two weeks," Gattis said. "Then I had it in a soft cast for two more weeks, so I really didn't do anything with it so it was kind of of scary to swing a bat again for the first time."
He was disappointed that the injury put a halt to his incredible year, but understands that that is part of the game.
"I was disappointed, but it is also out of your control, so there was really nothing I could do about it," he continued. "At the beginning I was more worried about not knowing what was going on with it, but once I found out what it was and knew it was out of my control I just did whatever they told me to do so that I could get back."
Now that Gattis is back on the field he is delighted to continue polishing up his transition to left field, and coming from the catcher position, he is transitioning well.
"It's a lot of fun," he said. "I like it out there. It's a lot easier on your body and it's just fun."
As far as being disappointed about the move, Gattis is not in the least bit.
"No. I love to catch, but no I'm not disappointed at all."
Gattis is the type of guy that is willing to try anything as long as it will help him or his team. He is quite fearless, but even he admits that the change was a little nerve-racking at first.
"I'll never let anybody know how scared I was at first," he said. "Like, playing at the highest level I've ever played at and in a new spot. It's kind of scary, you know, I didn't have much experience out there so I was terrified at first. But, it's easier to relax now, I feel a lot more comfortable."
While getting flown overnight to start in a higher league and then getting moved to a different position in the first half of a season may be enough to overwhelm most men, Gattis was well equipped for the task. He has a great skill-set and a steady, focused head on his shoulders. And not to mention nerves of steel, even though he was scared, nobody ever knew.
However, don't kick him out from behind home plate and throw away the key just yet. Gattis still has what it takes to play catcher and does envision himself playing in the future.
"Yea, absolutely," he said emphatically.
Gattis is has what it takes to go to the big leagues. He has the strength, the skills, the mentality, maturity, the drive, and he will go as far as his bat takes him. Ingram sums him up pretty well.
"Gattis is just a hard-nosed worker, and he's hungry for it. And, he wants it."
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