Atlanta Braves Top 30 Prospects: No. 8, Christian Bethancourt

8. Christian Bethancourt, C
B/T: R/R 2011 Age: 20 Ht: 6'2" Wt: 175
2010: (A-)
108 G, 420 PA, .251/.276/.331, 19 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 11 SB, 14 BB, 62 K

Christian Bethancourt was signed by the Braves in 2008 out of Panama. He was signed knowing the Braves could get an advanced defensive catcher with time to develop the bat at a young age. So far we have seen the defensive side but little of the bat.

Bethancourt made his stateside debut in 2009, putting up a line of .277/.342/.446 between GCL and Danville. He hit well in the rookie leagues at 17 years old, recording wOBAs of .377 and .363 in the small sample sizes. Also, his arm and defensive skills were on full display. This vaulted his prospect status to top 10 very quickly.

However, Bethancourt hit a snag at A- Rome in 2010, putting up a .279 wOBA with only 14 walks in 420 plate appearances. A combination of being his first full season at 18 years old and better competition caused him to hit a serious wall. He didn't show much as far as identifying pitches or having a decent approach in the box. However, his defense remained solid.

Bethancourt will never be a really strong hitter, though he's certainly not as bad as he showed last season. His approach and mechanics are off, and his swing is long, but age is on his side. It's nothing to be overly concerned with at this point. His defense rates as one of the best behind the plate in the entire minors, especially his arm, which could be a legit top five in the majors now. His big frame means a strong lower body, and he's not so overly big that it will hurt him down the road. He's very physical and strong for such a young age.

In the box, Bethancourt projects to have good power and eventually a decent idea of the zone. Behind the plate, he projects to win awards at the big league level. The bat is his only concern, and another trip to Rome will hopefully put him on the right track.

Three Things to Look For in 2011: 1) Eye & Discipline 2) Approach 3) Power
Destination in 2011: All at A-
ETA: 2015
Ceiling: All-Star catcher, top five defense, respectable offense
My Prediction: Starts in majors mainly for defense

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Atlanta

You must be a member of SB Nation Atlanta to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Atlanta. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Atlanta

You must be a member of SB Nation Atlanta to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Atlanta. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.