Good article. Forgive me if I’m wrong, though, but isn’t age much more important than number of years played when it comes to minor league stats? Bethancourt started when he was 16, so it’s not as big of a deal that he’s still in the minors. The other players moved quickly, but they also started at an older age. He could still end up in the big leagues at a younger age than Posey, Santana, and Wieters were. Or, comparing his age 20 season in double-A to Yadier Molina’s, they were both at the same level, neither hit well, though Molina hit moderately better. So it doesn’t seem that Bethancourt’s really that far behind. This is not to say Bethancourt will become a star…obviously there are huge issues with his hitting and his approach, but he’s still young enough that the sun hasn’t really set on him being a star.
Comment by mmanovich — February 11, 2013 @ 3:42 pm
The primary issue with Bethancourt is the complete evaporation of his plate discipline. He won’t play in MLB with a 2-4% walk rate he has posted in the low minors the last 3 seasons.
Comment by Pirates Hurdles — February 11, 2013 @ 3:49 pm
I would say both are important, with age having more weight. The larger reason for his chances of being a star falling is more due to the number of obstacles he keeps running into. Some of it may be strictly talent/approach, and some might be being overmatched. His chances of being a star aren’t nil, but they’ve certainly gone down. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to a very tough year.
Comment by Mark Smith — February 11, 2013 @ 3:52 pm
Nice article Mark! I enjoy your work over at CAC also.
Did you ever play Guitar Hero? When I first started, my roommate in college tried to get me started on Expert because he said I’d just learn faster. Everything went by so fast, and I didn’t even know what I was doing. I got really frustrated and basically just started wailing away on the buttons to catch up. I didn’t learn a thing. I had to go back and restart from the beginning, learning as I mastered one skill (rhythm, finger positions, etc.) at a time. That’s the hope for Christian is that he’s learning one thing at a time, with plate discipline coming as things slow down.
Comment by Mark Smith — February 11, 2013 @ 3:57 pm
He’s going to play in the MLB no matter what his walk rate is. The question is will it be solely as a backup for his defense or will he get a shot to start?
Comment by TheGrandslamwich — February 11, 2013 @ 4:11 pm
But can he frame a pitch?
Comment by JeffMathisCera — February 11, 2013 @ 4:26 pm
I just wonder what the numbers would have looked like – and what everyone would be saying – if he had spent the entire 2011 season in Rome, where he was off to a pretty nice start, and all of last season in Lynchburg. The walk rate would undeniably still be a concern. But we could have been looking at a high-upside 21-year old prospect with a good track record was starting the season in AA, right on schedule. Now, however, Bethancourt is (presumably) going to repeat AA with everyone ready to declare him a failure. I just don’t understand why the Braves were so aggressive with him.
Comment by Mark Smith — February 11, 2013 @ 6:39 pm
The key to the plate discipline point in my opinion is how better selectivity can improve his hitting / power / batted ball skills. Walking more than 4% would be great, but he still won’t be terribly useful even if he walks twice as much when he simply cant hit for any sort of average. Id feel a lot more confident if in any of those 9 sample sizes above, whether small or large, there were an average higher than .303, just to show he has that capability. To some extent all walks arent created equal, and if he doesnt improve his batted ball skills he will be the #8 hitter for the entirety of his team control, where his walks are least important – in which case he better call a mean game on top of that golden arm.
Ditto Wil – excited to see you Mark on FG after good stuff at CAC – especially after debuting w/ a Braves article.
The general consensus was that he’s been rushed. He was young for AA. It’s isn’t an elite bat prospect you can rush and find a spot for. He’s an elite defensive prospect they should groom more. I can see him making it to the majors at 23 or 24. A full year at AA at 21, mixed time at AA and AAA at 22, full year of AAA at 23 with a late season call up. If he can peak with 2 offensive WAR at 27 and keep his D, that’ll be a really good player and I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. As a braves fan, I see him as a catching version of Andrelton Simmons.
Comment by Antonio bananas — February 11, 2013 @ 9:20 pm
Problem is that they HAD to rush him. No replacement for McCann at this point and they needed to know whether or not CB would be ready to start in 2014.
We know now that he’s not. So the Braves (I wrote “we” at first…haha) need to figure out whether or not they can afford to resign McCann and for how long…
And to the above post, I think Simmons is a much better hitter than CB is (and with much higher potential).