Rays 2016 Top 50 Prospects: Number 18, Chris Betts
Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.
While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing.
Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.
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The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next.Mikie Mahtook
have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.
Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.
The next player to be examined in detail is …
#18: Chris Betts, C, 18 years old
- Bats: Left Ht/Wt: 6’2″ / 220 lbs
- Drafted: in the 2nd rd of the 2015 MLB draft
- Signed: for $1,482,500 (well above the $1,160,500 slot value)
- 2015 Affiliate: DNP
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2018+
Betts’ 2015 Pre-Draft Stats
30 GP / 35 Hits / .473 AVG / .642 OBP / 29 RBI
- Follow him on Twitter:@ChrisBetts26
- Was expected to go in the 1st rd but fell to the 2nd rd when injury concerns arose and had committed to Tennessee before being selected
- When tested, his MAX OF throw was 89 MPH, C throw was 84 MPH, and best pop time was 1.9 sec (all clocked by Perfect Game)
- Was often compared to Brian McCann as being a hit first catcher
- 2015 Perfect Game 1st Team All-American and California – All Region 1st Team
- Did play within the instructional league last fall
- Great friends with P Kyle Molnar, who he caught for a whopping 7 straight seasons while going through school. Molnar didn’t sign after being drafted by the Cardinals and is now playing for UCLA. Here’s a quote about their relationship,
"“I think I’ve only shaken him off once or twice,” Molnar said with a wry smile and Betts sitting a few feet away. “Since we’ve grown up together we know everything about each other.” Betts sees it from the receiver’s end. “Since 11 years old it’s been the same catch partner every summer,” Betts said. “We are always on the same page.”"
If you want to know what Betts eats,
Best Tools & Abilities
- Hitting, with Power
- High-pressure experience
The reason so many people are still optimistic about the situation within the catching prospect in the system despite a few high-end bats being so quiet (Ciuffo/O’Conner) is that Chris Betts can make up for that in short order. With broad shoulders and a quick and powerful swing, he can drive the ball to all fields and has an advanced approach at the plate, one that should see him earn above-average OBP.
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Some people had been critical of the direction Bett’s physique was going in and were worried he lacked muscle. Well he’s sorted that out in good order, and if it wasn’t for a Tommy John surgery in 2015, he would have been a mid-to-end of first round draft pick. The Rays lucked out in being able to acquire him, and if he does stick at catcher he could wind up being one of the biggest steals in the draft.
He has a quickest pop time which makes up for a mediocre arm strength. Scouts don’t rave about his skills behind the plate, but a few have voiced that if the Rays are patient, he should be able to stick there and be solid there. Those opinions are based on his receiving skills being passable and because they see some good lower-body skills.
With some stud defensive catchers in the system, such as Nick Ciuffo and Justin O’Conner, the Rays will eventually have an interesting dilemma on their hands: do they go with the defensive star, or the offensive star? Of course, who they pick depends a lot on how well Betts does and how quickly he presses for a role in MLB.
The professional approach Betts has at the plate likely comes a lot from the high-end coaching he’s received throughout his progress. His exposure to National teams and the pressure it brings will help him in being prepared for 2016 and beyond. It’ll be interesting to see where the Rays start him in the minors, and how quickly they decide to promote him if his bat plays as expected.
The Rays are truly lucky to have so many great options behind the plate in the minors. While some have lost ground at the plate, the majority are at least average behind the plate. If I were asked which are most balanced offensively and defensively, I’d point to David Rodriguez first and expect to point to Chris Betts second by the time the 2016 season is though.
Next: Tampa Bay Rays Top 50 Prospects List: 2016 Pre-Season
We’re going to be following Betts and his progress in 2016 closely as he finally gets a chance to prove the Rays right. Make no mistake, he has the kind of bat potential to become a core of the lineup hitter that powers through 25+ HRs per season. Whether or not it happens to coincide with playing catcher, it’s still going to be nice to have a true power-hitting prospect make a debut in TB. We wish him all of the best in 2016 and beyond!