The Houston Astros New Backup Catcher Is Helping the Lineup
It’s no secret that for the majority of the season thus far the Astros have essentially had a 3-4 man lineup. After Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Colby Rasmus, the Astros have struggled both getting on base and driving in runs. Fortunately, Jason Castro has seemingly come into his own at the plate, and Valbuena has been driving the ball, and the addition of Tony Kemp in the nine-hole has worked like a charm.
While these are all extremely welcomed sights, none is felt more than the resurgence of Evan Gattis. He began the season on the DL and missed the first week of action, and a split role between him and a then-hot Preston Tucker led to very inconsistent at-bats. When Gattis was given a chance, he used them poorly. The 2015 RBI leader hit a .239 clip in April while only hitting one ball out of the yard (Although we have seen him start a little worse).
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The struggles of Castro presented a huge hole in the lineup, so Gattis was sent to Corpus to shake off the dust behind the plate, which was his prime position in Atlanta. Taking 11 days from the show seemed to have worked well because Catcher Gattis is the best Gattis we have seen to date. He has also hit a homer in each of his first two starts as catcher.
Since returning May 17:
4 Home Runs
While these might not be astronomical numbers, they are certainly helping to stretch out a very top heavy Astros lineup. With Rasmus in an extended slump, Gattis hitting the ball well will do nothing but help Rasmus see better pitches to hit.
Hinch said that Gattis will not catch Collin McHugh next time around
With the bullpen coming around, Springer heating up, and the bottom of the order producing, the Astros are looking more and more like the team that was six outs away from the ALCS last season. We have a long way to go, but this could be the start of the big run we have all been waiting for.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***