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Caratini flashes bat for Danville06/20/2013 7:06 PM ET
By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com
It's not yet clear where Atlanta's 2013 second-rounder Victor Caratini will wind up defensively on the diamond long-term, but it wasn't his glove that attracted the Braves. His bat was the driving force behind his selection.
And in his professional debut Thursday, he showed just what he can provide with said bat.
The 65th overall pick in the 2013 Draft went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, spraying a triple and two doubles, driving in a run and scoring three times as Rookie-level Danville beat Princeton, 9-1, in their Appalachian League opener.
"He's got a good path to the baseball," said Danville hitting coach Rick Albert. "[He's] a switch-hitter, and what he showed tonight was he can hit the ball hard from both sides. He's able to use all fields. Tonight, left-handed, he hit a ball off the right-field wall, left-handed, hit one to left center, then right-handed hit one through the hole at second and doubled over the left fielder.
"He had four at-bats and he put the ball in play hard all four times. It's a good thing to see."
Caratini was officially drafted as a catcher, but spent Thursday evening at third base, where he also played the majority of his games during his college season at Miami Dade College, where another catcher on the roster managed the bulk of the duties behind the dish. He also saw some time at second base.
Regardless of position, Caratini showed he could hit, as he led that lineup in most offensive categories. In 45 games, he batted .377/.467/.549 with six homers, 12 doubles and 66 RBIs, along with 10 steals in 11 attempts.
Albert said the plan for now is to have him play third regularly while working on his catching skills behind the scenes as the Braves try to keep his bat in the lineup every day.
"More on that decision will be made at the instructional league at the end of the year. They'll decide what they're gonna do with him," he said. "But he's got good hands, which is a plus if he's gonna catch or not. His arm is adequate and he handled both plays tonight. As far as range and stuff, we just have to let him play a bit and see what we've got."
Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio told MLB.com after the Draft that the team was enticed by the potential it saw in the 6-foot, 192-pound Puerto Rico native.
"We just really liked his bat as much as anything. We saw him early and liked him from the very beginning," he said.
Albert said, on first glance, it didn't seem like Caratini would need a ton of tutelage as a batter.
"We sign these players and we throw them out there and let them play. As we go along, if there's adjustments that have to be made, then we'll do that, but with the new guys, we just let them play," he said. "[Caratini] walked right in here and had a heck of a game in the first game of his career."
Andry Ubiera (1-0) held Princeton to a run on two hits and two walks while striking out three over five innings to pick up the win.
Center fielder Kyle Wren, Atlanta's eighth-round pick and son of Braves general manager Frank Wren, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot for Danville.