Results tagged ‘ Victor Caratini ’
As evidenced by the additions of players like Jon Lester and Miguel Montero, the Cubs front office is transitioning from a period in which it focused primarily on bringing in assets to help improve the future of the franchise to an extended period in which they expect to compete every year at the big league level. However, if you were to suggest to baseball president Theo Epstein or general manager Jed Hoyer that this transition means they are now less inclined to build through their farm system, they would be quick to correct you.
Just because Cubs fans may finally start seeing wins accumulate at Wrigley Field doesn’t mean the minor league pipeline is suddenly going to go overlooked. In fact, for the second year in a row, the North Siders will have arguably the best system in all of baseball. Boasting the top prospect in the game, an overabundance of high-profile shortstops and a suddenly large group of interesting arms at the lower levels, the Cubs have built the scouting and player development monster they promised to deliver more than three years ago.
In our annual minor league prospectus, Baseball Prospectus’ Sahadev Sharma helps us break down the names to know at all levels of the system. As the month progresses, we’ll unveil player bios on a section-by-section basis. Here is Part 5 of the Cubs minor league prospectus:
Keep an Eye On
Like everyone else who watches the game regularly, scouts often fall in love with certain players. Unless you spend a great deal of time digging deep into the farm system, which isn’t all that unusual for Cubs fans of late, you may not have heard of some of the following names. But these are the guys scouts have identified as having a legitimate shot to put themselves on the map in 2015.
Jeffrey Baez – OF
Though he is generally known as the less-famous Baez in the Cubs organization (for the record, he and Javier are not related), Jeffrey is a big, strong-bodied outfielder with a chance to hit for power. He has some speed for his size, which has allowed him to rack up stolen bases early in his professional career and play solid defense from a corner outfield spot. Baez dominated in Boise, and after a slow start following a promotion, he eventually hit his stride with the bat in Kane County. He has the upside to be a legit major league bat, but that depends on his ability to make adjustments and keep his body in shape.
Charcer Burks – OF
A former high school football player, Burks has the tools and athleticism to open some eyes. He possesses an advanced approach for a younger player, but must continue to get stronger and utilize his speed by hitting line drives or keeping the ball on the ground rather than trying to hit it in the air. He has a gap-to-gap, line-drive swing and will likely be more of a singles and doubles guy than a power hitter.
Victor Caratini – C/3B
Caratini plays both third base and catcher, but he will stick behind the plate for the time being. If he can prove he has the skills to remain there, he’ll join Zagunis and Schwarber to give the Cubs some depth at a position at which they were largely lacking just a year ago. The switch-hitter has the flexibility, soft hands, strong arm and overall tools to become a solid backstop. Either way, he has enough bat to provide value. If it’s behind the plate, that value suddenly becomes of the impact variety.
Trevor Clifton – RHP
Clifton was a top-round talent, but the Cubs were able to sign him to an over-slot bonus after selecting him in the 12th round of the 2013 draft. The big, physical righty has an easy plus fastball, and his body has filled out since he joined the organization. With the potential for a solid change-up and a strong breaking ball, he has the weapons to be a starter, but he hasn’t yet shown the necessary consistency
Kevonte Mitchell – OF
Mitchell is a great athlete with a body scouts say is a mix between Giancarlo Stanton’s and Matt Kemp’s. Kemp is the dream here, as he is for every toolsy player who needs everything to go just right to reach his potential. As of now, Mitchell has the tools, but needs his game to catch up, which can only happen with playing time and lots of it. He profiles in a corner outfield spot, but there are some who believe the former basketball player could be adequate in center. Mitchell is the type of athlete scouts dream about. The ball flies off his bat, and he looks the part, but everything needs to click. If it doesn’t, which is the case more often than not with these types of players, he could end up less like Kemp and more like Reggie Abercrombie—a player with monster tools who never fully puts it together and struggles to perform in the high minors.
Reliever James Russell has been sent to Atlanta in a deadline deal. (Photo by Stephen Green)
The Cubs acquired catching prospect Victor Caratini from the Braves for infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, left-handed pitcher James Russell and a cash consideration Thursday.
The 20-year-old Caratini, a second-round selection in the 2013 draft (65th overall) entered this season ranked by Baseball America as the eighth-best prospect in the Atlanta farm system. Baseball America named Caratini the best pure hitter in Atlanta’s 2013 draft class as well as its best power hitter.
In 2013, Caratini was named rookie-level Danville’s Player of the Year after hitting .290/.415/.430 (58-for-200) with 23 doubles, one homer and 25 RBI. He drew 19 walks versus 17 strikeouts, earning the organization’s Player of the Month honor for August.
Caratini has spent all of 2014 with Single-A Rome, where he was named a South Atlantic League midseason All-Star. He hit .279 (90-for-323) with 18 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 42 RBI in 87 games this season. According to GM Jed Hoyer, Caratini will report to the Cubs Single-A Kane County affiliate.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder is a native of Puerto Rico and attended Miami Dade Community College.
Russell, 28, was originally selected by the Cubs in the 14th round of the 2007 draft. He departs after going 10-16 with three saves and a 3.87 ERA (117 ER/272.0 IP) in 316 big league appearances, all but five in relief, since the start of the 2010 season. The lefty was 0-2 with one save and a 3.51 ERA (13 ER/33.1 IP) in 44 relief outings this season.
Bonifacio, 29, batted .279 (77-for-276) with 14 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 18 RBI in 69 games with the Cubs this year. He signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in February after being designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals on February 2.