Caicedo 'phenomenal' in Danville debut

Braves prospect spins seven two-hit innings in first Appy League start

Oriel Caicedo held Pulaski scoreless in the longest outing of his career on Sunday. (David Cross/Danville Braves)

By Kelsie Heneghan / | August 17, 2014 10:02 PM ET

After three seasons in the Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast leagues, Oriel Caicedo wasn't nervous in his Appalachian League debut. At least, he didn't show it.

The Braves prospect appeared to keep his composure for seven scoreless innings on Sunday afternoon before Rookie-level Danville dropped a 4-3 decision to visiting Pulaski.

"He did a really good job of mixing off-speed at the right time [against] a good hitting team," said Danville pitching coach Dan Meyer. "He did good job using his fastball almost as more than one pitch. He changed velocity, added and subtracted, used his two-seam and four-seam, almost as if it was four pitches."

The only time Meyer thought he saw some nerves from the 20-year-old left-hander was in the opening inning. Caicedo allowed a leadoff single to Gianfranco Wawoe, then fielded a comebacker and started a double play. He walked Estarlyn Morales and balked him to second but got out of trouble with another ground ball.

"He threw strikes, got early outs. He did a phenomenal job," Meyer said. "He far exceeded my expectations as a pitching coach."

The Panama native retired 17 straight batters until Morales singled with one out in the seventh. A double play later, Caicedo's day was over.

"He was outstanding. I think he had earned the right to hand it over to the bullpen at that point," Meyer said. "He goes home and now knows that he can compete at this level, he can compete and go deep into games. For him, this can help him settle in nicely for the rest of the season."

Caicedo, who struck out four, spent 2011 in the Rookie-level DSL before undergoing knee surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2012 season. He pitched in the GCL last year and returned there this summer before joining Danville earlier this week.

Meyer spent some time with the southpaw in extended spring training and is impressed with how well Caicedo has adjusted to his new level.

"He's not going to beat himself and that's something that -- it's good to see a young player pitch within himself," he said. "At this level, keeping kids within their skill set and knowing who they are as a pitcher is one of the biggest obstacles and hurdles."

Dustin Emmons took over for Caicedo and pitched a perfect eighth but departed after allowing a leadoff single in the ninth. Luis Miranda (2-2) surrendered three runs -- two earned -- on three hits while recording one out and took the loss.

Ozhaino Albies led off the sixth with his first professional homer and Tanner Murphy and Justin Black drove in the D-Braves' other runs.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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