In the first of what will surely be a flurry of prospect promotions this week, the Atlanta Braves have promoted catcher Christian Bethancourt to the High A Lynchburg Hillcats. The 19 year old Panamanian had a rough 2010 with Rome, hitting just .251 with a .607 OPS 399 plate appearances, but he vastly improved those numbers this season, hitting .303 with a .753 OPS in 221 at bats for Rome. After getting off to a weak start, hitting .227 with a .610 OPS in April, he continued to heat up with the weather, hitting .302 with a .715 OPS in May and following that up with a torrid June that saw him hit .400 with a .988 OPS.
Bethancourt wi'll need to improve his plate discipline as he moves up through the system, as he's walked just 8 times this season, but, he's also only struck out 27 times this year, which means that even as a free swinger, he makes a ton of contact. Behind the plate, Bethancourt has a howitzer for an arm, intimidating opposing teams so much they rarely choose to run on him, but he still needs work on his basic catching and blocking skills. Even with those deficiencies, pitchers love throwing to his huge 6'2", 190 pound frame. Bethancourt will join Lynchburg Thursday for the first game of the second half against Wilmington.