The trade deadline has passed. It's a tremendously stressful time for many fans, taking them on an emotional rollercoaster over a few days as they watch their teams send off players for whom they've grown to care or add players for whom they soon will care. So, following what may have been a wild few days for you and your team, we're going to relax a little bit today. This isn't your standard BtBS post, by any means. There won't be a ton of analysis, it won't be particularly saber-slanted, and there will be more gifs than you're used to. Many more.
Gather 'round. We're going to watch Evan Gattis hit a bunch of triples!
Like the subheadline above said, Gattis isn't a typical triples hitter. He's listed at 6'4" and 260 pounds and isn't really known for having much speed, which isn't surprising when we consider that he's a giant person who is also a converted catcher.
Still, he's hit seven (!) this year, which is currently the fourth-most in baseball behind three outfielders who are pretty good runners: Kevin Kiermaier, David Peralta, and Adam Eaton. If at this point you're wondering how Evan Gattis got to seven triples, fear not: I'm going to show you.
So please, sit back, relax, and enjoy watching a large mountain man hit some triples. It should be... something.
*Batted ball velocities and gifs come from videos on Baseball Savant, which is excellent.
Gattis's first triple of the season, coming off David Price in Comerica Park. It's pretty standard, as far as triples go: he hit it to the deepest section of a ballpark that's relatively easy to hit triples in. There were no misplays or bobbles by an outfielder, and the throws from center to the cutoff man to third were all perfectly fine. In other words, it was a little boring. The exciting triples are on the way.
What we will learn throughout this exercise is that Evan Gattis can hit the ball pretty hard. Among batters with at least 50 recorded batted balls, Gattis has posted an average exit velocity of more than 95 mph, good for 32nd in all of baseball. This particular triple left the bat at 105 mph, which tells us that Gattis swings hard, and when he hits it, he hits it hard.
Gattis actually recorded a lower-than-average exit velocity for this one, at just 91 mph. And really, it wasn't a terrible pitch from Anibal Sanchez — if you catch the beginning of the gif, you can see that Sanchez misses his spot a little further outside and up, which shouldn't make it easier for Gattis to hit. And from the looks of how far Rajai Davis had to run, it looks like there may have been a bit of a shift put on for the batter.
It's like the old saying goes: "Work as a ski lift operator in Colorado long enough, and you can build the forearms that allow you to throw your baseball bat at a bad pitch and flick it into the right field corner like Evan Gattis."
My guess is that you were expecting seven gifs that looked almost exactly like this one. I was, certainly. A sort-of misplay by the outfielder, leading the ball to bounce away from him and requiring another outfielder to come and get it. I wouldn't call this a misplay by Brett Gardner, though, because he was just going for the out and couldn't quite come up with it.
To the credit of the Yankees outfielders, the ball took the worst route it could after hitting the wall. Not really anything Gardner or Garrett Jones could do about this one.
What we see here is a perfect storm of events leading to a triple. I'm a Braves fan, so there has never been too much reason for me to watch Astros games, but I think I've seen only one ball travel that far at Minute Maid Park. What's interesting here is how close Lorenzo Cain comes to making the catch. It's a pretty tremendous effort from one of the very best defenders in baseball, he just fell victim to one of the best triplers in baseball this time.
The problem starts early for the Rangers here. Martin Perez throws a slider that doesn't slide, but it does hang in the upper third of the zone for Evan Gattis. As a pitcher, there are places where you can miss to Gattis, but up and away while staying in the zone isn't one of those places.
The previous four have been legitimate triples. There haven't been any misplays or close plays, really, with the exception of Cain's effort on triple #4. Here, Leonys Martin has to make an extraordinary effort to simply get to the ball, which is why this doesn't go down as an error despite hitting his glove.
The real close play here, though, is the throw from Elvis Andrus. It's a strong throw from Martin, and Andrus doesn't really have much of a throw to get Gattis here. If the throw is on line, Gattis is stuck at four triples. If the ball just doesn't hit Gattis in the back, he's stuck at four triples. Those things didn't happen, though, and Evan Gattis has five triples.
Video of Gattis's sixth triple is missing from the internet! We know that it happened, specifically to lead off the top of the second inning when he hit the ball to deep right field toward Alex Rios. If you locate video of this triple, hit on July 26, 2015, please contact us.
This brings back memories of the triple from the Yankees game, doesn't it? It takes the absolute worst bounce off the wall that it can, so Shane Victorino is left to just pick it up in center field. Again, there's nothing the defense can do here. We should recognize how close Gattis was to a homer — he hit that Papa John's sign, which must be more than 20 feet high. His batted ball velocity here was 105 mph, which is 10 mph faster than his average fly ball/line drive. Gattis crushed this ball, which will happen if you miss your spot over the middle of the plate, Fernando Salas.
So we've seen six of Gattis's seven triples. He had one career triple coming into the season, and Houston is a pretty great place for someone with a ton of gap power to rack up some triples. There can be weird bounces off the giant wall in left-center field, or long runs from center fielders where those guys can't quite grab it. It's something of a tripler's paradise, and Gattis is making the most of it.
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Murphy Powell is a contributor at Beyond the Box Score, and he hopes you enjoyed this Evan Gattis gif-fest. You can follow him on Twitter at @murphypowell.