With the retirement of Chipper Jones imminent and Brian McCann's departure to Montreal, the new-look Braves of 2014 will have some big shoes to fill. As Frank Wren, Fredi Gonzalez and others within the organization decide how to best fit the remaining pieces together, we decided to take a look at ten of the most pressing questions facing the team as spring training looms.
1. Who is the exceedingly handsome bloke taking over for Brian McCann?
Great question. That's Evan Gattis, a former janitor who was bitten by a radioactive baseball and gained superpowers that confer upon him an above-average skill for the game.
2. That's a fantastic beard, isn't it?
You bet it is. It's exactly the right thickness and visual weight. It achieves a harmonious combination of being rich, yet well-trimmed and shaped. It's said that Leonardo da Vinci's sketches contain some reference to a perfect Gattis-like beard, but sadly he died before his research could be completed. We are left to wonder about the majesty of Evan's beard and the biological architecture that makes it possible.
3. Clearly, he's a bear, but of what sort?
He seems to fit the muscle bear category best. In a recent column, Peter Gammons wrote that it's a refreshing change of pace from the chubbier, huggable McCann model of bear, and is worth at least six BABIPs.
4. What is the preferred nomenclature for a handmade Gattis tribute sign that I might hold up at a game this season?
"I'm Maddis for Gattis," or perhaps "Braves Baseball - Heaven With Evan."
5. What do you think he smells like? I mean, really?
Our best educated guess is Corinthian leather, American moxie and perhaps a note of the clear, unadulterated pool one would find at the base of a secluded waterfall along Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau.
6. Comparing him only to catchers in the National League, where does Gattis land in terms of attractiveness?
We got the folks over at FanGraphs to take a look, and their complicated mathematical formulas, which include thigh diameter and arm hair quotient, found Gattis ranks highly among NL catchers. Only Buster Posey is considered more attractive. A.J. Ellis came in fifth, and J.P. Arencibia stormed out of the room when he learned the survey included only members of the National League.
7. Is it possible that you have, somewhere in your home, a spiral bound notebook whose cover is nearly completely filled with scrawlings of "Mr. Brandon Gattis" and hearts with "EG" written in them?
We're not at liberty to say.
8. Did you see that picture of him wearing a bowtie last season?
omg yes he is so cute
9. What's a reasonable level of expectation for Gattis' contributions in 2014?
He will win the Nobel Prize for Catching and be feted with a ticker tape parade through his Texas hometown. He's projected to receive 14.6 Uggla Hugs (UHs), which would put him solidly in the top ten Braves in that category. Our calculations indicate Gattis' slash line will look something like .882/.622/.745, with lots of wOBAs and what the hell, some FIP or something, too. He will continue to be extremely handsome (EH) and very friendly (VF), with no dropoff from 2013's cuddling for power (CFP) numbers.
10. Is Freddie Freeman still around?
We're not sure who that is.