Will B.J. Upton Join Dan Uggla On Braves' Bench?

Braves' Consider Bringing Up Christian Bethancourt

Monday, June 16, 2014
B.J. Upton's performance still leaves much to be desired.
B.J. Upton's performance still leaves much to be desired.
- photo by Tim Evearitt
ATLANTA -- As Christian Bethancourt has continued to surge offensively for Triple-A Gwinnett and B.J. Upton has extended his struggles, the Braves have at least started toying with the idea of moving Evan Gattis to left field.

Though a decision does not necessarily seem imminent, the Braves have discussed the possibility of promoting Bethancourt to serve as Atlanta's starting catcher. If this decision were to be made, Gattis would move to left field and Justin Upton would transition to right field.
To complete this equation, Jason Heyward would replace B.J. Upton in center field.

B.J. Upton provided some glimmer of hope as he produced a .354 on-base percentage in the 15 games played from May 19-June 3. But, he has still hit just .220 with a .301 OBP in his past 25 games. In addition, the Braves have gained more reason to be concerned about his defense. Upton dropped a routine fly ball in Friday's eighth inning and then booted a single that led to a costly run in the eighth inning of Saturday night's 13-inning loss to the Angels. But like with the diving catch he made to rob Josh Hamilton of an extra-base hit in Sunday's seventh inning, he has still occasionally flashed his former defensive brilliance.

The Braves have been more than patient since giving Upton a five-year, $75.25 million contract before the 2013 season. But that patience has worn thin as the defensive miscues have further highlighted the fact that Upton's bid to bounce back from last year's career-worst season has not yet materialized. He has batted .210 with a .634 OPS through his first 64 games.

Meanwhile, as Bethancourt has batted .312 with a .764 OPS in his past 37 games, he has at least given the Braves an alternative. There has never been much reason to be concerned about Bethancourt's defensive skills, which have been deemed Major League ready for the past three years. But now that the 22-year-old catcher is showing some signs of optimism at the plate, the Braves are getting the sense he's ready for a promotion.

Bethancourt, who has been compared to a young Benito Santiago, would certainly provide the Braves a defensive upgrade behind the plate. The team would also seemingly benefit from a defensive perspective by replacing B.J. Upton in center field with Heyward, who leads the Majors with 20 Defensive Runs Saved.

Gattis, who entered Sunday leading the Braves in home runs (15) and OPS (.936), is no stranger to left field. He made 48 starts at the position last year and manned the position throughout the postseason, during which Heyward was in center and Justin Upton was in right.

------ Source: MLB.com

Evan Gattis would be move to left field.
Evan Gattis would be move to left field.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt


MORE PHOTOS: Baylor Versus MUS DII-AA Baseball Championship

Lookouts Hold On To Win An Ugly Slugfest Saturday Defeating Biscuits, 11-10

In a lengthy game (3:24) that saw 21 runs scored, a total of 27 hits, 3 errors, 6 wild pitches, 6 batters hit-by-the-pitch, one balk, one home run, and even a triple-play, the Lookouts managed to prevail and come away with an 11-10 win. Box   Details to follow (click for more)

Aaron Biddle, 21, Shot And Killed On Basswood Drive Saturday Afternoon

Aaron Biddle, 21, was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon. The Chattanooga Police Department responded around 3:45 p.m. to the 7800 block of Basswood Drive on reports of a person who had been shot.  Upon arrival, police were able to locate the victim who had succumbed to his injuries. A suspect was detained by police immediately upon their arrival.  Investigators ... (click for more)

Corker, Aide Help Gain Release Of Holts From Venezuelan Prison

 Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, welcomed the release of American citizen Josh Holt and his wife, Thamy, who have been detained in a Venezuelan prison for the last two years.   “I am pleased to join Senator Hatch and President Trump in announcing the release of Josh and Thamy Holt,” said Senator Corker. “Senator ... (click for more)

Conserving White Flight To Private, Public Secluded Schools Is Shameful

If you really care about the kids of Hamilton County’s most distressed schools, then you’ll take help where you can get it. The question on your mind isn’t which political label someone wears. Anyone who shifts attention away from the critical issues facing public education and toward political labels is not really committed to public education. Their support for equitable, quality ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: School Board Suckered

Just eight short days ago, Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd called a study on Hamilton’s County’s pseudo ‘socioeconomic desegregation’ farce as “the most far left, liberal document I have ever read. It does not represent the values of Hamilton County and I am insulted and disrespected by it." Then the School Board got so embarrassingly suckered  on Thursday  night ... (click for more)