Christian Bethancourt

Christian Bethancourt

Bethancourt with the San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres – No. 12
Catcher / Utility Player / Relief Pitcher
Born: (1991-09-02) September 2, 1991
Panama City, Panama
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 29, 2013, for the Atlanta Braves
MLB statistics
(through August 14, 2016)
Batting average .227
Home runs 8
Runs batted in 43

Christian Gabriel Bethancourt (born September 2, 1991) is a Panamanian professional baseball catcher for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Atlanta Braves.

Early life

Bethancourt was born and raised in Panama City, Panama where he began playing baseball at the age of five. As a third baseman, Bethancourt had a tendency to abandon his position in favor of wherever the ball was hit. His parents convinced him to move behind the plate, saying that if Bethancourt left his position as a catcher during a game, his team would lose, as the other team would find it easy to score.[1]


Minor leagues

Bethancourt was signed as a non-drafted international free agent and began his minor league career at the age of 16 in 2008.[2] He was named the seventh-most-promising catching prospect in baseball by prior to the 2012 season.[3]

Bethancourt played for the Mississippi Braves of the Class AA Southern League in 2012. He was named to the All-Star Futures Game.[4][5] On August 9, 2012, Bethancourt broke his left hand when he was hit with a pitch.[6] The Braves added him to their 40-man roster after the 2012 season.[7]

Carlos Correa (left) and Christian Bethancourt at the 2013 All-Star Futures Game

Bethancourt again played for Mississippi in 2013 and made his second All Star Futures Game roster.[4] Following the end of the minor league season, he was promoted and joined the Atlanta Braves on September 9, 2013.[8][9] Bethancourt made his major league debut against the Philadelphia Phillies on September 29, 2013. He struck out in his only at bat.[10]

Atlanta Braves

Bethancourt playing for the Atlanta Braves in 2014

In 2014, Bethancourt began the year with the Gwinnett Braves of the Class AAA International League, and made his third consecutive All Star Futures Game on June 24.[4] He was promoted to the major leagues when Evan Gattis went on the disabled list on June 28.[11] He recorded his first major league RBI on July 1, against Daisuke Matsuzaka.[12] Bethancourt batted .240 with the Braves in 13 games, and was demoted to the minor leagues on July 21, when Gattis was activated from the disabled list.[13] He was to be promoted back to the Braves on September 2.[14][15]

In spring training in 2015, the Braves said Bethancourt would have to be assessed before he would be given the position of primary catcher.[16] On June 6, Bethancourt hit his first career home run in the bottom of the 9th inning, off of Vance Worley, to give the Braves a 5–4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.[17] Bethancourt appeared in 29 games for the Braves in early 2015, batting .208/.231/.297 with a .528 OPS and six passed balls, before being sent to back down to AAA Gwinnett on June 15 after he made a series of defensive mistakes and failed to hit.[18][19] At the time, according to ESPN Stats he was ranked 66th out of 82 qualifiers in catcher's ERA (4.50).[16] He also was ranked third among National League catchers in most passed balls and tied for fourth in errors (3) while playing in only 29 games.[16] He was recalled on August 24.[20] On October 5, Bethancourt underwent knee surgery for a torn meniscus.[21][22]

San Diego Padres

On December 10, 2015, Bethancourt was traded to the San Diego Padres for right hander Casey Kelly and Ricardo Rodriguez.[23] After spring training ended in April 2016, Bethancourt was named the backup to starting catcher Derek Norris.[24] Bethancourt made his first career pitching appearance on May 31, a blowout loss against the Seattle Mariners, recording two outs, two walks and a hit batsmen.[25] He took the mound again on June 14, against the Miami Marlins, picking up his first strikeout as a pitcher, while yielding one hit and one walk in one inning.[26]


  1. Hernandez, Erica A. (July 3, 2014). "Bethancourt follows in his dad's steps as a catcher". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  2. Ballew, Bill (October 30, 2009). "Atlanta Braves Top 10 Prospects Scouting Reports". Baseball America. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  3. Mayo, Jonathan (January 20, 2012). "Prospect Watch: Top 10 catchers". Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 Walton, Carroll Rogers (June 24, 2014). "Bethancourt, Peraza tabbed for Futures game". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  5. Mayo, Jonathan (June 21, 2012). "Prospects pack rosters for 2012 All-Star Futures Game". Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  6. Bowman, Mark (August 11, 2012). "Catching prospect Bethancourt breaks hand". Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  7. Bowman, Mark (November 20, 2012). "Bethancourt among five added to Braves' 40-man". Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  8. Rodgers, Carroll (September 9, 2013). "Bethancourt joins Braves in Miami". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  9. Bowman, Mark (May 24, 2013). "Bethancourt called up to get a taste of big leagues". Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  10. Rogers, Carroll (September 29, 2013). "Bethancourt gets first major league at-bat". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  11. Hernandez, Erica (July 19, 2014). "Christian Bethancourt on Evan Gattis' looming return". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  12. Odum, Charles (July 1, 2014). "Mets' struggles continue in 5–4 loss to Braves". U-T San Diego. Associated Press. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  13. Dorado, Juan (July 21, 2014). "Atlanta Braves Option Christian Bethancourt to Gwinnett". Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  14. McCartney, Cory (September 1, 2014). "Braves call up five, including Bethancourt". Fox Sports. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  15. Vivlamore, Chris (September 2, 2014). "Bethancourt call-up gives Braves added flexibility". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  16. 1 2 3 O'Brien, David (June 14, 2015). "Braves send struggling Bethancourt to Triple-A". Albany Herald. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  17. Nesbitt, Stephen J. (July 6, 2015). "Pirates lose to Braves, 5–4, on walk-off home run". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  18. Bowman, Mark (June 15, 2015). "Braves option Bethancourt, call up Lavarnway". Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  19. Fox Sports. "Braves demote Bethancourt to Triple-A Gwinnett, call up Lavarnway". FOX Sports.
  20. Cooper, Jon (August 24, 2015). "Bethancourt recalled, will see playing time". Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  21. O'Brien, David (October 7, 2015). "Braves catcher Bethancourt has arthroscopic knee surgery". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  22. "Braves catcher Bethancourt undergoes knee surgery to repair torn meniscus". Fox Sports. October 7, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  23. Bowman, Mark (December 10, 2015). "Bethancourt traded to Padres for Kelly". Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  24. Sanders, Jeff (April 2, 2016). "Finally, Jabari Blash has good news to share". UT San Diego. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  25. Bahr, Chris (June 14, 2016). "More evidence that the Padres' nastiest pitcher might be their backup catcher". Fox Sports. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  26. Roscher, Liz (June 14, 2016). "Padres keep using catcher Christian Bethancourt as relief pitcher". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
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