Now introducing, number-three Atlanta Braves prospect, Christian Bethancourt.
Christian Bethancourt, the final Atlanta Braves September call-up, will get to audition a bit over the final three weeks of the season and, more than anything, get acquainted with teammates and the MLB atmosphere. Whether you like it or not Braves fans, Bethancourt is the future at catching … and soon. Bethancourt is expected to compete for the starting position over Evan Gattis next spring. Gattis is more than likely to resume the same work load he is serving in currently, some at catcher and some at left field. Gattis is Plan B in case Bethancourt stumbles. The truth is Bethancourt isn’t coming up to ride the pine.
Some fans are upset by this development. Some fans just never saw the writing on the wall in the spring. It’s been there all along. When Brian McCann was hot as the summer at one point, every writer in the world was writing about his next contract with the Braves. Not me. No way. The writing is on the wall.
The most recent argument from fans? Bethancourt, 21, can’t hit at double-A and he hasn’t even played triple-A yet. Oh, really? That’s your argument? What about a 21-year-old Brian McCann, fresh from double-A, never touched triple-A, getting the call? That seemed to work out pretty well, right? McCann never touched the minors after the call, except for rehab appearances.
Well, since we got those fans to quiet down, let’s answer the next question on your mind. Comparing the stats, I bet McCann had better double-A stats (Some of us are shaking our heads, who cares right? It’s double-A!), but let me debunk that for you, too.
Brian McCann was called up in June of 2005 as a catcher in double-A Mississippi, ranked as the number 44 prospect in MLB. McCann’s stats at the time: 48 games, 166 at-bats, 44 hits, 13 doubles, six home runs and 26 runs batted in with a slash line of .265/.359/.476.
He finished the year in Atlanta with a .278/.345/.400 line with five home runs and 23 runs batted in. The following year he started a string of six consecutive All-Star appearances. Safe to say he was OK with the jump.
Bethancourt just completed his year at double-A. He’s also a 21-year-old catcher in double-A Mississippi, ranked at number five in MLB at catching. I can only find the pre-2012 ranking of 91, not the pre-2013 ranking. His stats looked like this: 90 games, 358 at-bats, 99 hits, 21 doubles, 12 home runs, 45 runs batted in with a slash line of .277/.305/.436.
Those numbers are pretty darn close aren’t they? Are you still worried Braves fans?
McCann will command a lot of money on the market. A lot. He’s a good-hitting catcher who has had injuries in recent years and a lack of production as a result of them. He will still command a lot of money but from an American League team that will move him to DH as he gets older. McCann has seen his line drop from .284/.371/.532 on August 1 to a present day .265/.340/.479.
He’s just not worth the financial burden the Braves would have commit to sign him. Not worth it when you have Evan Gattis already waiting, who has one less home run than McCann with 50 less at-bats.
Combine Gattis with Bethancourt for league-minimum salary to equal the production of a very expensive McCann sounds like a no brainer to me.
Is it a guarantee? No, and neither is McCann. This solution just comes at a much cheaper price, and there’s already a backup in place in Evan Gattis. It’s a business first.
Bye McCann, thanks for the memories!