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 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

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

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

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