In the past, the Atlanta Braves have had a solid core behind the plate. It started with guys way back like Joe Torre and made its way to Javy Lopez then Brian McCann and now Evan Gattis. However, minor leaguer Christian Bethancourt has scouts saying he is quite comparable to Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bethancourt has been with the Braves since he was 16-years-old in the 2008 season. Since then, as he has matured he has slowly become one of the top prospects in the Braves organization and is well known to be the catcher of the future for the team.
Where he truly shines at this point in his career is behind the plate. In the minors, he has a career fielding percentage of .980, and it’s only going to get better as he better learns the position. He has a cannon of an arm and can throw from his feet, knees or from his crouch. He threw out 32 out of the 67 base runners in 2013, and his lifetime percentage of base runners thrown out is at 37.
While he has been a solid defender throughout his career, his record at the plate has been a work in progress. He has made tons of progress and 2013 showed signs that Bethancourt has made a positive turn for the future. Last season he hit .277 with a slugging percentage of .436. He has never been a big power threat, but he eclipsed his career high of five home runs last season when he hit 12.
Due to his offensive progress, there is no way that Bethancourt starts the season any lower than AAA. It’s almost a certainty he will see some time in Atlanta during the 2014 season, whether it be due to injury or his performance shows it is his time.