Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!
Athletics catcher and first baseman Christian Bethancourt, who got off to a slow start this season after four years away from the majors, has emerged as a top hitter for the A’s over the past two weeks. This isn’t a random occurrence: as Martin Gallegos reported yesterday at MLB.com, Bethancourt took a chance on a swing adjustment at the end of May that has unlocked his considerable power potential.
Through his first 48 games with Oakland, Bethancourt was slashing .224/.283/.294 despite having exit velocity that put him among the top 20 percent of big league hitters. Ahead of the A’s game against Texas on May 28, Bethancourt decided to change his approach and swing for more fly balls.
A few days later, Bethancourt hit his first home run of the season—against Astros ace Justin Verlander, no less. He’s been barreling up consistently since then and was on fire in the just-completed four game series against the Guardians, going 9-for-17 with three doubles and three home runs. The 30-year-old’s exit velocities have surged to an elite level during this breakout spell of the past couple weeks:
Christian Bethancourt last night put four balls in play at 103 mph or higher off the bat. Just seven other hitters have done that this season - Devers, Buxton, Olson, Alvarez, Yelich, Pederson, Arozarena - per Statcast. His first AB tonight, Bethancourt hits a 110.1 mph double.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) June 10, 2022
Bethancourt left Cleveland leading all A’s hitters in batting average and wRC+, though his 127 plate appearances currently lag well behind everyday starters like Sean Murphy, Elvis Andrus, and Tony Kemp.
- Bethancourt, 2022: .269/.310/.454, 122 wRC+, 4 HR, 4.7% BB, 20.5% Ks
Bethancourt was signed to a minor-league deal by the A’s last December and attended Spring Training a non-roster invitee. He was made a permanent member of the A’s 40-man roster on April 21 to shore up the team’s catching depth when Stephen Vogt was placed on the IL. He started in all four games against Cleveland, and I have a hunch we’ll be seeing plenty more of him in the near future.
With the A’s a full 20 games under .500, we need Cinderella stories like this to keep hope alive. Keep mashing, Christian!
- Hall: Game #62: A’s lose Sunday Morning Baseball
- Hall: Game #61: A’s win! Snap 10-game skid with 10-run outburst
- Diamond: Oakland Is Down to Its Last Strike as a Sports Town ($)
- Kawahara: Christian Bethancourt tapping into power to give A’s lineup some thunder ($)
- Gallegos: Bethancourt’s change in approach keys HR surge
- Kawahara: A’s Dany Jiménez hits a rough stretch as closer ($)
- Gallegos: Keys to A’s ending skid: 2 phone calls, 1 outburst, 1 grand slam
- Thanawalla: Laureano’s passionate speech fires up A’s in skid-busting win
- Shea: With MLB ballots out, where did all the Giants and A’s All-Stars go? ($)
- Martin: Laureano looking forward to continued success after suspension
MLB News & Interest:
- Schonbrun: Always an Outlier, Kelsie Whitmore Just Wants to Play Baseball ($)
- Fegan: White Sox fans care enough to boo Tony La Russa, but can he keep them caring? ($)
- Polishuk: Dodgers Place Walker Buehler On 15-Day IL Due To Flexor Strain
- Zencka: Dodgers Activate Clayton Kershaw
- Polishuk: AL Injury Notes: Anderson, Tigers, Odorizzi, Chapman
- McDonald: Lance Lynn Likely To Be Activated Tuesday
- Polishuk: Quick Hits: Canha, Escobar, Marte, Mets, Perez, Suarez
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
This is pretty much what I wanted to say when I woke up and the game was already on and I couldn’t watch it! But being pre-coffee, all I could muster was a groan.
Imagine wanting to attract the youth market to your sport, and thinking the way to do that is an 8:30am Sunday baseball game on a channel they maybe don't already get. Because two things kids love are waking up early on weekends and paying extra for stuff they already paid for.— Alex Hall (@AlexHallAN) June 12, 2022
Exactly why Ramon was tossed..
Clarifying Ramón Laureano's ejection: He was upset and argued with home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak about a pitch to Elvis Andrus that he felt was a balk.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) June 12, 2022
Ramon on getting fired up in the dugout on Saturday.
Was there frustration building from the losing streak?— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) June 12, 2022
Laureano: "I mean, of course, because we’re losing all the time, so yeah, absolutely."
To have it over with:
"Yeah, hey, we’re happy, whatever. But we have a f---load of games left so. Gotta stay present." https://t.co/DnFdxOs5zp
Frankie fourth in AL Ks.
2022 AL SO Leaders— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) June 11, 2022
Shane McClanahan (98)
Dylan Cease (89)
Gerrit Cole (84)
Frankie Montas (78)
All Leaders: https://t.co/QDMJToVPnF
A precipitous rise.
I'm sorry, what now?https://t.co/pK0SpOOGSA pic.twitter.com/2P5IB61fMD— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) June 12, 2022
Elvis owns Cleveland.
Elvis Andrus absolutely rakes in Cleveland. He leads all Major League hitters in career batting average at Progressive Field, now at .392 (65-for-166) after his double just now in the fourth.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) June 11, 2022
Can anyone guess the next-highest career batting average at Progressive Field?
A'S RECENT MOVES: RHP Joey Estes off LAN IL, IF Alexander Campos & C Hansen Lopez to ACL A’s, RHP Ed Baram to STK, RHP Calvin Coker off STK IL, RHP Chen Zhong-Ao Zhuang on STK IL, RHP Adam Oller to A’s, LHP Sam Selman to LV … https://t.co/joKXkzbDRy— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) June 13, 2022
It was nice having Jerry Blevins in the booth over the weekend.
Been a great weekend with @jerryblevins on A’s Radio! pic.twitter.com/mTkw4A3PWI— Vince Cotroneo (@vincebaseball) June 12, 2022
Just arrived, and it is epic. Should be on everyone’s bookshelf. Congrats @hbryant42 pic.twitter.com/MvD5r0AiGr— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) June 12, 2022
The Yankees hit six home runs on Saturday. Yawn...been there, done that.
It would have tied the record. Two teams have scored 6 in a game, all on solo HR:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 12, 2022
Blue Jays on 5/21/10 vs. Arizona
A’s on 8/3/91 vs. Minn
Both of those teams lost those games! https://t.co/NwGaFRqoKO
@lastdivebar steps up for the Rally Possum!
Well we had to take matters into our own hands and pay the ransom to the East Bay SPCA to get our beloved Rally Possum out of jail. #RallyPossumForever!!! pic.twitter.com/d0jNNED0Mp— Last Dive Bar (@lastdivebar) June 11, 2022