It hasn’t been long since Christian Bethancourt made it to the major leagues, but for the Atlanta Braves, it has been well worth the wait. For people around or familiar with the Braves organization, he has been spoken highly of ever since the team signed him, almost creating a myth of the wizard that he is behind the plate. With Evan Gattis injured, Bethancourt has gotten an opportunity to catch 11 games at this point and he has really impressed the Braves with his skills, not only behind the plate, but with his bat as well.
The team has never really been worried about his defense, which is just as impressive as people have said. It was his offense that the team questioned, and he answered some of those questions last season with his best offensive season yet, hitting 12 home runs. However, since being called up to play for the Braves, he has hit quite decently for them. Granted, he doesn’t have the power that Gattis provides, but that isn’t what the team wants him to provide. He has the ability to get hits low in the lineup, right now, and has even been able to provide a game-tying run in the top of the ninth inning against the New York Mets.
Where he sets himself apart from any other catcher on the team is that his defensive abilities are far and beyond anything that Gattis or Gerald Laird can do. He has instincts behind the plate that Gattis doesn’t have when it comes to blocking balls in the dirt and has one of the best arms on the team, that isn’t a pitcher. In today’s game, the way pitching is of most importance, a catcher with a good contact bat and excellent defense, which includes the ability to call a good game, can be the difference between a division title and a trip to the World Series.
Steven Whitaker is an Atlanta Braves writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CoachStevenWhit or add him to your circles on Google