There is a time every spring where some players get optioned off to the minor leagues or even completely cut. This week, the Atlanta Braves optioned five players back to the minor leagues, including Christian Bethancourt, Juan Jaime and Luis Vasquez to AAA Gwinnett.
For these players, this was the best situation possible really. For Jaime and Vasquez, who were both fighting for a spot in the Braves’ bullpen, they will have some time in the minor leagues to get their control in order and be ready for a call-up at any time.
In their case, these two pitchers could form into dominant bullpen arms when they hit the major leagues. Jaime and Vasquez both throw well above 95 MPH with their fastball, but both have had trouble with control. If they are able to fix their control problems, they will both be fixtures in the Braves’ bullpen for a long time to come.
Bethancourt, on the other hand, needed this more than the other two players. We all know his genius behind the plate, but offensively, he showed the Braves one thing this spring: He still isn’t good enough with the bat to make it in the majors.
He hit .167 in his time this spring, and I don’t know how much better he’ll get when he makes his move to the major leagues. He isn’t going to hit home runs, almost Jason Kendall like, but he doesn’t even hit for an even decent average. If he doesn’t put some work in while he’s in Gwinnett, Bethancourt may find himself waiting longer in line than he hoped behind Evan Gattis.