5/5/2014 12:57 A.M. ET
Triple-A prospect Bethancourt heating up
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
After a career year in 2013 that saw him reach the big leagues for the first time in September, many thought Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt would be ready to take over full time in Atlanta for Brian McCann, who left via free agency. Bethancourt, ranked No. 76 on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list and No. 2 on the Braves' Top 20, hadn't played above Double-A, however, and was sent down to Triple-A after a 3-for-18 showing in big league camp this Spring Training.
That sluggish start carried over into the beginning of his International League season, and he was hitting just .186/.238/.220 after an 0-for-4 showing on April 28. It's been a different story since, as the No. 5 ranked catching prospect in the game went 3-for-4 on Sunday, including his first home run of the year, to cap off a torrid four-game stretch.
Bethancourt got a day off from catching on April 29, but he was in the lineup at DH and responded by going 2-for-5. He followed that up with another two-hit performance and a 1-for-3 day on May 2. Adding his Sunday exploits, he's gone eight for his last 14, with five runs, a home run and six RBIs over the last four games. In that span, the 22-year-old Panamanian has raised his batting average from that .186 all the way to .253. He's added more than 100 points to his slugging percentage as well, from .220 to .347.