Gattis Brings Big Bat, Incredible Tale

Posted on August 5th, by Stephen Hunt in All, Baseball, Houston Astros, MLB, Texas Rangers. No Comments

ARLINGTON—In the experience column on the Houston roster, next to Evan Gattis’ name it says two years, but the current Astros’ designated hitter has way more life experience than that. Now 28, Gattis is a Bishop Lynch product whose winding road in and out of baseball, one which saw him work different jobs like ski-lift operator, has been well-documented.

In 2009, he made his way to Odessa, playing one year at Texas-Permian Basin, where he hit .403 with 11 HRs. That performance impressed

Atlanta enough to use a 23rd-round pick on him in the June 2010 draft. His climb up the Braves’ ladder was rather quick and in April 2013, he made his big-league debut.

But last December, Atlanta was rebuilding under former Rangers GM John Hart, so Gattis was traded to Houston, a move he welcomed.

“Not really [surprising], I was pretty happy to come to the American League. I was happy to stay in Texas. It’s good for my friends and family. Yeah, it’s easier on me for sure, so I was happy. And to see that they [the Braves] were blowing up the team and trying to restart, I was really happy to come somewhere that’s trying to win,” Gattis said.

His first month as an Astro was rough as he hit .164 with 2 HRs and 9 RBIs, but Gattis has hit .249 with 15 HRs and 50 RBIs since as Houston’s primary DH, a role first-year Houston manager A.J. Hinch feels he’s thrived in.

“His presence has been great on our club. He’s been very productive throughout the year, both in RBIs, home runs – triples master,” said Hinch, referring to Gattis currently ranking among the American League leaders with seven triples. “We’ve found different ways to get production out of him. Having a stable, run-producing, middle-of-the-order bat who competes in every one of his at-bats is a nice presence for this young team.”

Despite growing up in Dallas, Gattis admits he never considered himself a Ranger or a Cowboy fan. However, he did have several ex-Rangers he enjoyed watching play in Arlington.

“Not really [a Rangers fan], they weren’t very good,” Gattis said. “We used to come to see other guys, like [when someone like] Bartolo [Colon] was pitching. I liked Vladdy here, A-Rod.”

He also doesn’t see himself as an inspirational figure, just someone who capitalized on his latest opportunity in the great game. He takes pride in the road he’s traveled to reach Houston and admits there were several jobs he once held he really enjoyed.

“Yeah, lift operator, I loved it. Loved being at the golf course every day too,” Gattis said. “Getting off work, I’d go play a quick 9 or 18. That was fun. I played golf almost every day.”

Now, he’s found a similar fit in Houston. “We have good chemistry on this team. We all stick together and it’s fun. Winning helps definitely. Just got a good group of guys and somehow it fits,” Gattis said.

Stephen Hunt

Stephen Hunt

A graduate of both Oklahoma State and Arkansas, Stephen Hunt is a freelance writer who currently covers the Stars for in addition to various assorted other gigs. Hunt is currently in his 10th season covering FC Dallas, which he does for The Dallas Morning News. He’s also covered the Mavs and Rangers for Fox Sports Southwest and worked as a freelance writer for media outlets and websites from across the country. Hunt also works on the television side of sports, as a stats guy for college football, high school football, Mavs and Rangers broadcasts. You can follow him on Twitter @dfwsportsguy93

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