I was scrolling through scores last night to see how former Braves prospect Joey Wentz performed in his Major League debut for the Tigers. It didn’t go well, as he gave up six earned runs over 2.2 innings. However, in the process of looking this up, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when checking the box score.
Former Braves top prospect Christian Bethancourt is back in the majors, and he had three hits last night in the win. Yes, the catching prospect that fans convinced themselves would become the next elite backstop in Atlanta is now with the Athletics after spending five years out of the majors.
Bethancourt’s baseball career has been a wild ride. After underwhelming with the Braves, he was eventually traded to the Padres in 2015 for Casey Kelly and Ricardo Rodriguez. Bethancourt didn’t have much success behind the plate in San Diego either, and they even attempted to make him a reliever before he eventually elected free agency after the 2017 season. He spent 2018 in the Brewers organization, and after that, he headed to the Korean Baseball Organization to play for the NC Dinos.
Last season, Bethancourt, who was still only 29-years-old, signed with the Pirates and had the best season at the plate of his career for their AAA organization, hitting .281 with 14 homers in just 92 games. That earned him another opportunity with the Athletics this season, and last month, he was called up to the majors for the first time since 2017.
Who knows how long his stint in Oakland will last, but the fact that Bethancourt is still around is why baseball is so amazing. Some of the stories around the league about the paths taken to the majors — like Tyler Matzek, for example — couldn’t have been scripted better in Hollywood. Bethancourt making it back to The Show is incredible, but I really hope he somehow carves out a nice little career for himself over the next few years.