Bethancourt called up to get a taste of big leagues
Catching prospect expected to compete for starting job with Braves next season
ATLANTA -- Braves top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt will spend the next three weeks acquainting himself with the Major League scene and reaping the rewards of a successful season with Double-A Mississippi.
After Mississippi was eliminated from the Southern League playoffs on Sunday, Bethancourt flew to Miami to be with the Braves during Monday's series opener against the Marlins. The 22-year-old catcher is the latest and quite possibly last addition to Atlanta's expanded roster.
Given the likelihood that Brian McCann will go elsewhere as a free agent this offseason, Bethancourt and Evan Gattis are the most likely candidates to begin the 2014 season as Atlanta's starting catcher.
While the strong-armed and athletic Bethancourt has always been lauded for his defensive skills, his offensive potential has been questioned. But he showed more patience during the second half of the season and ended up hitting .271 with 12 homers and a .741 OPS in 90 games with Mississippi.
He is the No. 3 prospect in the Braves' system, as ranked by MLB.com.