Originally posted on Chop-N-Change  |  Last updated 1/27/12
20 year-old catcher Christian Bethancourt is a tough nut to crack. He's fallen from grace on many prospect lists (dropping to ninth on this year's BA top ten), because he hasn't found consistency hitting, despite playing the 2011 season as a 19 year-old in full season ball. He started the year in Rome, and after a cold spell to start the year, caught fire and finished at .303/.323/.430 before getting called up to Lynchburg, where he finished his year struggling, finishing up at .271/.277/.325.

The major demerit on Bethancourt right now is his plate discipline. This season, he walked just 11 times in 410 plate appearances. That's not going to work in the long run, but hopefully, his plate discipline can improve as he ages. His power is also lacking, with a .096 ISO overall. That's also not really going to cut it, but he's still filling out his body, and that can improve with age.

The power question got answered a little bit in the AFL, where Bethancourt OPSed .880 in 74 plate appearances, homering five times (which is how many he hit in the entire regular season) and adding three doubles as well to give him an ISO of .250 in the fall - a massive improvement. But the plate discipline question remained. In those AFL games, Bethancourt walked just twice while striking out 17 times. The walks are consistent with his 2011 regular season totals, while the strikeouts spiked, probably due to Bethancourt attempting to impress and hit the ball more, along with the quality of pitching in the AFL.

There is no need for the Braves to rush Bethancourt, because there is a glut of young catching in the low minors. In addition to Bethancourt, the Braves system features guys like Ryan Delgado and Evan Gattis, both of whom have hit rather well during their careers. I'd personally like to see Bethancourt start the year at Lynchburg in 2012, and if he's able to succeed hitting, he can get promoted to Mississippi, much like the team did with him in 2011. Bethancourt spent all of 2010 in Rome and struggled offensively, and started there in 2011 as well before being promoted once he caught a spark.

I think Bethancourt can be a solid catcher in the bigs, but he needs to continue to develop his power and plate discipline. 2012 will be a big step forward for him, and I'd really like to see him develop his offensive game a little more. If he can do that, he can be a top 100 prospect in 2013.

Check out THT's projection for Bethancourt here

Photo courtesy of Daylife.com 
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Texas Tech using fake Twitter accounts to track players

Nike creates custom Air Jordan shoes in tribute to Craig Sager

Browns wanted ‘second-round pick and then some’ for Gordon

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker