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Rays top 55 prospects: No. 54, C Chris Betts

As was the case with our #55 selection, this prospect has experienced his share of injuries issues. With hopes that he puts a solid healthy season together, here he is at #54.

No.54, C Christopher Raymond Betts, 20 yrs old

Born: March 10th, 1997 in Long Beach, CA

Height/Weight: 6’2” 215 lbs Bats/Throws: L/R

Signed: after being drafted in the 2nd rd of the 2015 draft for $1,482,500 ($300K above slot)

Twitter handle: @ChrisBetts26

Baseball America Rankings

  • Pre-Draft: Ranked 28th overall in their Top 500 rankings
  • Post-2015: 15th among Rays prospects
  • Post-2016: 26th among Rays prospects

Note: Pre-2017, Ranked 19th among Rays prospects in Fangraph’s KATOH rankings

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 47
  • Low: 51
  • Average: 49.5

Chris Betts: Abilities

  • Hit 30 / 50
  • GamePower 30 / 40
  • RawPower 55 / 55
  • Speed 30 / 30
  • Field 40 / 45
  • Throws 45 / 45 (managed 2.0 pop times in 2017)
  • Future Value 40
  • Abilities notes: The truth with Betts is that it’s hard to rate his abilities accurately - particularly the ceiling - when he’s had so many issues staying healthy. With consistent development, he could exceed all expectations and fast-track himself towards MLB.

The one thing you can bank on regardless of what happens is that he’ll crush pitches over the fence when he squares them up well enough. He has the power that few Rays prospects, if any, could match.

Joined the Rays by way of....

The 2015 MLB draft. Was a first-team All-America and had committed to Tennessee prior to signing with the Rays. The knock on him at the time - and what caused him to drop lower than expected - was his conditioning, which many teams believed would negate his being able to remain behind the plate.

Had TJ surgery shortly after signing, and despite the health concerns, Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison noted the following,

“This is a guy that we really like, another guy that we’ve scouted, we’ve scouted him for a couple years now,” R.J. Harrison, director of scouting, said after the pick. “I couldn’t of drawn up this first day any better.” "We like his bat and power. He's got a plus arm, and there's no reason why he can't catch. Like on any young catcher, there's a question of whether or not he's going to stay behind the plate. ... He has a great work ethic and he's a ballplayer."

Latest Transaction: Sep 15, 2017 - HV Renegades activate C Chris Betts from 7-day DL.

Note - Had a few more injury issues in 2017 (Jun 19th through Sep 15th on DL and rehab)

Facts, Honors, and Awards

(Editor’s Note: Danny is also a big fan of these bars)

  • Having so many injuries over consecutive years has to be tough on anyone, and Betts is no exception as he indicated in Tweet below,


Only managed 7 AB in 2017, but was able to hit 2 doubles, earn a walk and steal a base.

Stats Notes: Although he’s noted for his prodigious power Betts has yet to hit a HR through 119 minors ABs.

Interesting Comparison: Travis d’Arnaud

  • Both are Long Beach California natives and are about the the same size. They both have had their fair share of injuries, and both are known as bat-first backstops with above-average power and ability to attain high AVG/OBP/SLG numbers.
  • Whether or not Betts is able to get his receiving skills to where d’Arnaud’s wound up over time remains to be seen, since he really made big strides in all areas, but he has the tools and talents to get there. A little more luck and lots of experience would go a long way.
  • Just as d’Arnaud did when he was recovering from injury, Betts is likely to spend more time in the DH role, and just as with d’Arnaud, there will be questions posed about whether or not that role may be where he winds up (or at 1B).
  • With that special a bat in terms of potential, it would be interesting to see the numbers Betts would put up in that scenario, but for now we’ll continue to hope he sticks at C, just as with d’Arnaud.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

Prospects so often break hearts, and in the case of Betts we can’t classify it as a broken heart, yet, but it would certainly be great to see him put a full season up.

Without that full season, it’s really hard to say where his development stands and whether or not he’ll stick behind the plate. Healthy, Betts is worthy of his first round pedigree. The reason we’re able to continue having him on the Top 50 list is that, even without remaining behind the plate, should he stay healthy enough to get full season ABs would likely make him a top 15-20 prospect on our list. It’s that special of a bat, with easy power to all fields and what’s expected to be average-to-above-average contact rates.

Should Betts be fully healthy in 2018, there’s a decent chance he gets pushed up to Bowling Green and tested accordingly. Another season of short-season ball (still a possibility) would seemingly limit the gains in game experience he would get there, and his bat should be able to handle LoA pitching.

Once the season ends, and again, if healthy and doing well, it’s also possible he gets some time in the AFL to get him more playing time against high-end competition. With 2018 in the books, we hope to have a much clearer outlook of what Chris Betts is really capable of, and look forward to having him in the Rays top-20.

For now, here’s what we can offer in terms of past performances:

Chris Betts: Spotlight Videos

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 55 Rays Prospects

*Note: rankings were adjusted and reflect recent additions to the system - it is now a Top 55 list