Phillies: 4 candidates for backup catcher role in 2020

Deivy Grullon, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Deivy Grullon, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
4 of 5

3. Christian Bethancourt

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 19: Christian Bethancourt #12 of the San Diego Padres walks from the mound during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at PETCO Park on May 19, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

Christian Bethancourt is one of two non-roster invitee catchers on the Phillies’ 2020 spring training roster; he signed in late December on a minor-league pact.

Bethancourt, 28, made his big-league debut on September 29, 2013, against the Phillies while with the division rival Braves: a pinch-hit appearance in which he struck out. That would be his only game that season, before playing 160 games over the next four seasons with the Braves (2014-15) and San Diego Padres (2016-17).

While the Panama, native is a career .222/.252/.316 hitter with 20 doubles, eight home runs, 46 RBI, 18 walks, and 119 strikeouts over 161 games and 489 plate appearances, he is more so notable for having experience playing not only the catcher position, but also left field and right field, as well as second base.

Bethancourt has not appeared in the majors since 2017; with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2018, he was named an All-Star and slashed .297/.328/.506 with 22 doubles, 20 home runs and 71 RBI over 104 games. This past season, he hit .246 with eight home runs and 29 RBI in 53 games in Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) action; he was released mid-season.

Another position Bethancourt  has been utilized in is pitcher; he has tossed a combined six games for the Padres in 2016 and 2017; also, at the Triple-A level in 2017, he logged 34 appearances and 41 2/3 innings on the mound, albeit struggling with an 8.21 ERA and 1.992 WHIP.

Just five years ago, Bethancourt was considered among the Braves’ top prospects, having been ranked by Baseball America as the 69th best prospect overall entering the 2014 season, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Corey Seidman.