Once upon a time when you heard about Atlanta Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt, there were no words like might be or maybe one day, he was absolutely the next everyday catcher for the Braves. Not all of that is Bethancourt’s doing but he certainly isn’t doing anything to improve his standing with his play this season. The problem he has is the large presence of one Evan Gattis.
They say Bethancourt is the clear defensive choice between him and Gattis but when you look at numbers even that doesn’t seem true. Gattis has thrown out 33% of potential base stealers this year in the major leagues and Bethancourt is down around 30%. Bethancourt’s fielding percentage is lower than Gattis’ as well. Offensively there is no comparison between the two. Bethancourt has never been a strong hitter and still isn’t.
Truth be told, he is good enough defensively to be an everyday catcher. The problem is that the position of catcher more than ever has become an offensive position. Not nearly as many teams try to steal second base and so it becomes more important to have a slugger that can carry his weight defensively than a defensive savant behind the plate. The presence of Gattis, having already shown his ability to slug the baseball at the major league level is a real problem for Bethancourt.
I don’t see him becoming the everyday catcher for the Braves. It’s possible he will be thrown in with a trade during the offseason or possibly hangs around in the minor leagues until the Braves need a back-up catcher for defensive reasons and come up then. The MLB page still says he is the Braves No. 2 prospect but I just don’t see that number sticking for much passed this season unless something drastic happens with Bethancourt’s offensive game.