(Photo: Joe Nicholson / USA Today Sports)
Can the Padres’ Pitcher/Catcher carry a team by playing every position? Spoiler: No
This past offseason, the Padres announced that catcher Christian Bethancourt would become a pitcher/catcher/outfielder hybrid this season. The 25 year old has a fastball that has been measured at 96 miles per hour, and he pitched in mop-up duty twice in 2016, while starting 35 games behind the plate. It’s clear he can play multiple positions (even if his -0.6 WAR leaves a lot to be desired) but can he play all the positions at the same time?
I created 24 clones of the original and placed them all on the Padres, who are now the Bethancourts. Injuries are turned off. This team is in an alternate universe from the Philadelphia Coke, but will play all 162 games against real bonafide major league teams.
Now that that’s been settled, let’s begin.
Here is the team’s home page. It looks like the team can hit. However, the pitching and fielding are going to be atrocious.
Here are the preseason predictions.
Maybe this team can’t hit after all. 485 runs scored would be the fewest by any team in an 162 game season since the 1969 expansion Padres scored 468. It’s still a far cry from the 147 runs scored by the Philadelphia Coke. They’re expected to win exactly one game and finish with an ERA of 13.47, nearly twice as high as the all time record.
The lineup is as follows:
2B Christian Bethancourt
SS Christian Bethancourt
C Christian Bethancourt (the original)
1B Christian Bethancourt
3B Christian Bethancourt
LF Christian Bethancourt
CF Christian Bethancourt
RF Christian Bethancourt
SP Christian Bethancourt
Many fans believed Bethancourt deserved to be the Opening Day starter, but the manager gave the nod to Christian Bethancourt instead.
Let’s get underway!
Much to the world’s surprise, the Fightin’ Bethancourts won a game! They went 1-23 in the month. CF Christian Bethancourt leads the team with a .298 batting average. However, his fielding is so godawful that despite his .810 OPS, he is worth -1.9 WAR, on pace for -12.6 over a full season.
28-1 April 25 @SF Christian went into San Francisco and lost 28-1. Brandon Crawford, Matt Duffy, Gregor Blanco, and Alex Rios each had 4 hits. Johnny Cueto pitched a complete game. However, this 27 run loss was the second most embarrassing thing to happen that series. That’s because in the following game, Madison Bumgarner HIT FOR THE CYCLE.
No pitcher has ever hit for the cycle before, and Bumgarner has never hit a triple in his career. Take that, DH.
4-3 April 22 vs STL The Bethancourts stunned the Cardinals by pulling off a 4-3 victory in only the 17th game of the season. LF Christian Bethancourt hit his third homer of the season to put them up 2-1, and they never looked back. Closer Christian Bethancourt got the save, and his ERA is a team-leading 4.50. The Cards won 13-1 and 21-4 in the other 2 games of the series.
Fan interest is at 61% and the team attendance is 28th, ahead of the Marlins and Indians.
The team struggled in the month of May, going 0-29 and falling to 1-52. The team is dead last in the NL in all categories except for Home Runs (13th) and Stolen Bases (13th). Their run differential is -765, or 719 runs worse than the Braves, who are second worst. On the bright side, this team was not shut out once all month.
32-1 May 8th vs NYM In this rout, Michael Conforto and Travis d’Arnaud each went 5-7 with 2 home runs. David Wright hit 3 doubles. SS Christian Bethancourt made 2 errors. His current total of 27 is second only to 2B Christian Bethancourt’s 29.
9-6 May 22 vs LAD This game was a slugfest, and the Bethancourts actually outhit the mighty Dodgers. Unfortunately, their 5-run 8th inning was too little too late. The Dodgers hit 3 home runs, and Adrian Gonzalez hit his 300th of his career.
Fan interest is raised to 64% somehow. Attendance falls to 29th, but is still ahead of the Miami Marlins. Our total revenue of $114 million is 20th in the league, so maybe this experiment is paying off in
San Diego Christian.
The Bethancourts went 0-25 in June, falling to 1-77. SS Christian Bethancourt has emerged as the team’s heavy hitter. He is hitting .271 with 10 homers and 22 doubles so far. His WAR, however, is -1.7 due to the fact that he has made 32 errors less than halfway into the season.For what it’s worth, the original CB, playing his natural position of catcher, leads the team in WAR with -0.4. Despite the fact that he’s played above average defense, his hitting has been awful, with a .247 OBP and an OPS+ of 47.
25-2 June 23 @CIN The Bethancourts actually had a 1-0 lead after the first half inning. After innings of 6 runs, 4 runs, and 4 runs, the hope was quickly dashed. Scott Schebler, who was demoted in April in real life, homered and hit 3 doubles in the win.
6-5 June 3 vs COL This one wasn’t close until the final inning, when they scored 4 runs off Carlos Estevez, who may or may not be Charlie Sheen. 1B Christian Bethancourt went 3-4 with a double, and the bullpen pitched 3 shutout innings.
Fan interest has held strong at 64%, but the attendance has finally fallen to last place. That may have to do with the fact that they’ve lost 61 in a row and are 55.5 games out of first.
They won again! The Bethancourts have improved to 2-102 going into August. They have dropped to last in home runs, and are last in the NL in every category except for stolen bases.
29-3 July 24 @WAS Bryce Harper was a home run shy of the cycle. Ben Revere hit 6 singles in the win. SS Christian Bethancourt made 3 errors.
8-7 July 3 vs NYY Both the catcher and third basemen homered in the game. RP Christian Bethancourt pitched 1.1 shutout innings, picking up his first win and lowering his ERA to 12.11.
The original Bethancourt, who struggled earlier in the season, had a phenomenal month, hitting .348 with 7 doubles. I also noticed that 5 of the position-playing Bethancourts have come in to pitch 20 or more times. Backup SS Christian Bethancourt has pitched the most innings, 28 to be exact. He has a 12.54 ERA and a 2.75 WHIP. He also managed to strike out 14 batters.
They won another game, surpassing the Philadelphia Coke by picking up their third win. In other news, the Bethancourts were eliminated from the playoffs. It’s too bad, they were finally starting to pick up some momentum.
36-1 August 23rd vs CHC The Cubs scored in every inning but the 4th, with an 11-run 7th being the big inning. Jake Arrieta pitched a complete game and struck out 12 batters. Bethancourt the 3B went 3-3 with 2 stolen bases. Arrieta went 2-8 with a double and drove in 4 runs. Everyone in the Cubs lineup had at least 2 hits in the rout.
9-8 August 1 vs MIL The Bethancourts are rolling now, winning 2 months in a row. This one was done in amazing comeback fashion. They scored 4 runs in the 9th off of Will Smith and won in the 10th on a walk-off homer by SS Christian Bethancourt, his fifth hit of the game.
Fan interest has dropped to 60%. Attendance is still last, but they are closing the gap on the Marlins and Braves. I lowered tickets to $8.
END OF SEASON:
The team went winless in the final month of the season, dropping their record to 3-159. They finished 12th in the NL in stolen bases and last in every other category. They also were last in attendance and finished a mere 101 games out of first.
24-4 October 2 @ARI The Bethancourts played October baseball! Their biggest loss in the final stretch came in the last game of the season. Christian had a 1-0 lead after the first inning, but it was the Diamondbacks scoring 5 in the 6th and 6 in each the 7th and 8th. SS Christian Bethancourt hit his 53rd and final double, good for 4th in the league. His 73 errors were first.
8-6 September 17 @COL It was a rough season for the Rockies. They only had 67 wins, and 19 of them came against me. The game was tied going into the 7th, before Carlos Gonzalez hit a 2-run home run. Manager Christian Bethancourt was quoted after the game as saying “We’re in a funk right now.”
In conclusion, a team made up of 25 Christian Bethancourts would be pretty terrible, although maybe a little better than a team of 25 Phil Cokes. They were bad at hitting, but they also were 4th in the majors in doubles and 23rd in stolen bases. They won 3 games, were never no-hit, and never allowed more than 36 runs. No player hit 3 home runs in a game against us, but 6 players had 6 hits, and David Peralta had 7 one game. Only one player hit for the cycle off of our pitchers, and that was Madison Bumgarner in April. All in all, this season was a wild success, and Christian Bethancourt is a perfect player to build a team around.
World Series: White Sox over Nationals 4-0
Final Record: 3-159
Team MVP: SS Christian Bethancourt .275/.298/.430 17 HR 53 2B
Team Stats and Rankings:
Here are the team batting stats
And here are the pitching stats.
Errors: 408 (SS Bethancourt led with 73)
Intentional Walks: 2
Wild Pitches: 360
Hit Batters (pitching): 130
Opponent OBP: .509
Opponent OPS: 1.172
Combined WAR: -98.1 (CF Bethancourt ‘led’ with -12.6)
Attendance: 1,396,558 (30th)
I relinquished control and simmed the 2017 season. The Bethancourts, led by Robbie Erlin and Kennys Vargas, won 63 games. They traded all but one CB, the backup catcher from 2016, and he became the team’s backup catcher and first baseman. 13 teams have Christian Bethancourts as one of their major league catchers, and the Diamondbacks and Marlins have two each. The original Bethancourt was traded to Seattle in the offseason and claimed off waivers by Minnesota in July. He started 129 games and posted a .528 OPS while playing gold glove caliber defense. 10 Bethancourts are currently relief pitchers in the minor leagues somewhere. 7 are still with the same organization, while 2 are with the Braves and 1 is with the Rockies. Most of them have pitched substantial innings, mostly because the AI is obsessed with giving playing time to players with major league contracts playing in the minors. We can only hope that one of them makes the majors someday.