26-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Christian Bethancourt in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Bethancourt could be among the minor leaguers called up to the Padres when rosters expand in September, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
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Christian Bethancourt Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Christian Bethancourt Defensive Stats
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2017 Stat Review for Christian Bethancourt As compared to the top 100 relief pitchers in 2016 (min 55 in)
A collection of stats that measure different skills.
A few general measures of a pitcher's effectiveness.
Balls in play avg. and % of runners left stranded.
Christian Bethancourt: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Christian Bethancourt.
Bethancourt spent the entire season in San Diego, making 41 appearances behind the plate in addition to playing 12 games in the outfield, one at second base, and taking the ball twice for manager Andy Green as a relief pitcher. Bethancourt's strong arm has always been praised as part of his profile as a defense-first catcher, but he touched 96 mph with his fastball during his time on the mound while mixing in a mid-80s changeup and a few knuckleballs. It's possible that Bethancourt will focus on pitching in preparation for 2017, if only to add to his versatility off the bench. At the plate, Bethancourt made small strides in 2016, hitting a career-high six homers while finishing with a .228/.263/.368 line in 204 plate appearances. He's never shown a particularly discerning eye at the plate, however, and a full-time move to the mound may be the best use of Bethancourt's tools if the organization doubts the possibility of further development as a hitter.
Bethancourt's athleticism behind the plate and tremendous arm were supposed to carry him, both in the primary role in 2015 and to a lengthy career as the Braves' starting backstop. However, he once again looked far overmatched against major league pitching last season, struggling even more against left-handers (.433 OPS) than against same-handed pitching (.551 OPS) with a dismal BB:K in 48 games. The Braves scaled back his playing time as the campaign dragged on and gave up on Bethancourt after the season. They dealt Bethancourt to San Diego, where he is now blocked by Derek Norris and Austin Hedges. Even with the catcher position in a state of utter mediocrity, Bethancourt makes for an unappealing option heading into 2016 given his lack of offensive skills and slim chances at a regular role.
Defensively, Bethancourt is major-league ready, but he did not take the leap forward, offensively, that the Braves were hoping he would in 2014. That's not to say he was awful with the bat, as he hit .283 at Triple-A Gwinnett as a 22-year-old, but Bethancourt did little to ease concerns about his approach, drawing a mere 13 walks in 365 plate appearances with the affiliate. Moreover, he smacked just 26 extra-base hits with Gwinnett, resulting in a .125 ISO, down from .159 with Double-A Mississippi in 2013. He spent close to a month with the big club toward the middle of the season, filling in for an injured Evan Gattis, and was also among the team's September callups, but he looked overmatched against major-league pitching, posting a dismal .247 wOBA in 31 games (117 plate appearances). Despite his struggles at the top level, the Braves appear ready to insert Bethancourt into the regular role behind the plate, as the Jason Heyward trade has opened up a spot in the outfield for Gattis. Assuming the Braves do indeed move on to Bethancourt as their primary catcher, he would warrant some consideration in deeper two-catcher leagues, if only because the playing time should result in the counting stats piling up at a decent clip. Bethancourt will compete with veteran A.J. Pierzynski for playing time to begin 2015.
Heralded for his rocket arm and athleticism behind the plate, Bethancourt took a significant step forward at the dish last season. In 90 games with Double-A Mississippi, he hit .277/.305/.436 with 12 homers and 11 steals, after slashing just .243/.275/.291 at the same level in 2012. Concerns remain, however, about Bethancourt's lack of plate discipline, as he drew just 16 walks in 388 plate appearances in 2013, but he did show some improvement in the second half, with a .329 on-base percentage over his final 39 games. The 22-year-old will likely need to show continued improvement in the minor leagues before being considered for a promotion, but with Brian McCann now out of Atlanta, it's possible he could get the call sooner than expected, if Evan Gattis struggles defensively, or if there is an injury to Gattis, Gerald Laird, or Ryan Doumit.
Bethancourt has the potential to be one of the top catching prospects in the game. His defense has been vaunted and is already at a major league level. His bat, on the other hand, still has some catching up to do. After being signed at 16, the now 21-year-old Bethancourt has played five minor league seasons with just a .656 career OPS and a poor eye at the plate. He has potential to be a good power hitter and possesses above-average speed for a catcher. Now with a 40-man roster spot, Bethancourt could open the season as a temporary backup to Gerald Laird while Brian McCann works his way back from knee surgery. It's likely that he'll spend most of 2013 back at Double-A Mississippi.
Bethancourt could be Atlanta's top hitting prospect after a breakout season. After hitting .303/.323/.430 at Low-A Rome, Bethancourt held his own at High-A Lynchburg by hitting .271/.277/.325 at age 19. While his numbers were not overly impressive at the plate, he was young for High-A and is seen as a strong, albeit raw, defensive catcher. He then hit .306/.324/.556 in the Arizona Fall League, which impressed many observers considering the tougher competition. However, he'll need to show more patience at the plate (just 13 walks in 459 at-bats between the minors and AFL) to become an elite prospect. He'll likely begin the season at High-A again, but a strong first half could put him on the fast track to the majors.