It has been longer than most can remember since Christian Bethancourt was not the next big thing behind the plate for the Atlanta Braves. He was looked at as the heir apparent to the catching throne a full year before Brian McCann actually left. All of that changed with the sudden emergence of Evan Gattis however and it remains changed now. Gattis’ presence is missed greatly in the Braves line-up and while Bethancourt is doing fine defensively behind the plate, he is not a replacement for Gattis.
Defensively, Gattis has done pretty well. There have been a minor issue here and there with staying on the same page with every pitcher but that is far from rare for catcher in his first full season. Did I mention that Gattis leads catchers in home runs still even after being put on the DL? Make no mistake, Bethancourt is good and boy does he ever have a rocket for an arm; but he is not a replacement for Gattis.
That now has been said twice but it bears repeating. The question is not what the Braves will do with Gattis. You can bet that they will not just send away his huge bat any time soon. What is still up in the air is what will be done with Bethancourt going into next season. The Braves love his defense but his bat is average at best. There are a couple of options that could be very good for the Braves.
First of all they could trade him. He is ready for MLB catching duties right now and has a couple of hits to his name. There could be a team out there that is very interested in his catching services and would be willing to trade handsomely to get him. The Braves should be open to this possibly. Other than that, we will have an odd situation where one of the game’s best offensive catchers will have to win his starting job all over again against a guy who could be one of the game’s best defensive catchers in a year or two. A trade would seem like the best option.