At one time, Christian Bethancourt was ranked among the top 100 prospects in all of baseball by Baseball America. That was six years ago and since then, Bethancourt’s stock is well down the chart and he hasn’t been able to find much success at the major league level, especially offensively. Bethancourt was the Braves starting catcher coming into 2015, but lost the job before the season was even over. Ironically, he struggled defensively, which had been his primary ticket to the majors prior to that.
The 28-year old is just a .222 hitter in nearly 500 major league plate appearances with Atlanta and San Diego, where Bethancourt was dealt following the 2015 season. Bethancourt hasn’t played in the majors since 2017 when he eight games, just one season after he appeared in a career-high 73 games with the Padres, hitting .228. In 2018, he played at Triple-A in the Brewers organization and spent this past season in Korea, but also struggled offensively overseas.
Bethancourt’s defense behind the plate at the major league level has improved and he has also seen limited time at both corner outfield positions in the majors. He has played two games at second base in the majors and eight at first base in the minors. In his MLB career, Bethancourt has been used as an emergency pitcher on six occasions and he pitched in 34 games in relief for Triple-A El Paso in 2018, posting an 8.21 ERA.
The Phillies have J.T. Realmuto and Andrew Knapp at the major league level, although Knapp’s offensive output has been weaker than the Phillies would like to have. With rosters being expanded to 26 players in 2020, the Phillies could conceivably use the added spot to carry a third catcher with some position flexibility, but it’s more likely that they would use it for a more versatile player with better offensive upside. That would leave Bethancourt to backup Deivy Grullon at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.