In the haze of a Monday morning, some breaking news hit the wire surrounding the Braves roster, and it came from a bit of an unlikely source. Tom Hart of FOX Sports (and ESPN) fame dropped this bomb on Twitter:
Braves will call up Catcher Christian Bethancourt today. 21 year-old hit .277/12/45 at Double A Mississippi this year.
— Tom Hart (@tom_hart) September 9, 2013
News of a promotion for Bethancourt isn’t shocking, but it’s a mild surprise. It appeared as if the Braves were set to go with the catching trio of McCann, Gattis, and Laird, but with the minor league season coming to an end, there’s really no downside here.
Bethancourt is the franchise’s top catching prospect, and for the first time in a long time, his bat has played up to that pedigree this year. In 388 plate appearances at AA in 2013, the 21-year-old catcher has a 112 wRC+ as a result of a .277/.305/.436 slash line with 12 home runs. Those numbers don’t jump off the page as spectacular, but it’s a massive upgrade on where he was this time last year, and at 21, he’s still very young for the level.
Above all, Bethancourt is known for his elite defense, highlighted by an All-World arm. He immediately becomes the best defensive catcher on the roster, and while that probably doesn’t matter much in September as far as wins and losses, he’ll be a treat to watch back there when (and if) he sees playing time.
The Braves may not be done yet, and if they aren’t, stay tuned to this space for the latest roster news!