In a rebuilding year there are good stories and bad ones and one of the bad ones is when a guy who was supposed to be your ____ of the future doesn’t do all that hot. Christian Bethancourt was one of those guys for the Braves this year, so he spent most of the middle of the season in the minors.
But, since it is a rebuilding year, you can do things like use late August and all of September to give those bad stories a chance to head into the winter with optimism. Such is the case with Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt, who was sent down to Triple-A in June after early season struggles. Today they called him back up for a chance to head into the offseason with his head held a bit higher.
In the bigs he hit .298/.221/.287 in 29 games and, worse, played bad defense, which was supposed to be his calling card. A.J. Pierzynski took most of his playing time before he left and all of it after. In the minors he righted the ship quite nicely, hitting .327/.359/.480 in 52 games. If he can post numbers closer to that than what he did in Atlanta the Braves will have one less question mark heading into year two of the rebuild.
The Pirates are officially shutting down Chris Archer for the season, GM Neal Huntington revealed Sunday. It’s more of a formality than anything else, but, as the Pirates are currently out of postseason contention, there seems to be no point in forcing the right-hander to accelerate his recovery from right shoulder inflammation.
Archer, 30, sustained the injury in late August and was initially projected to return sometime during September. He’s been throwing from flat ground over the last several weeks, but there had been no indication that he was ready to resume starting duties for the club. He’ll end his 2019 run with a 3-9 record in 23 starts and a 5.19 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 SO/9, and 0.7 fWAR across 119 2/3 innings pitched; not his worst performance to date, but a considerable step down from the sub-5.00 ERA and 2.6 fWAR he posted with the Rays and Pirates in 2018.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Pirates will soon wrap up their fourth consecutive non-contending campaign. Following Saturday’s brutal 14-1 loss to the Cubs, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason qualification. They last reached the playoffs in 2015, though it’s been six years since they advanced past the wild card tiebreaker and 27 years since they advanced past the Division Series.