Victor Caratini Scouting Report (2014)
With the 65th pick in the 2013 MLB draft, Atlanta selected Victor Caratini, a catcher/third baseman out of Miami-Dade Community College. A switch hitter with the ability to play multiple positions is tantalizing — especially when he can don the tools of ignorance. In a thin system, the Braves are in need of assets throughout its minor league system. Christian Bethancourt is the catcher of the future, but third base is a question mark. Edward Salcedo has underwhelmed. Kyle Kubitza isn’t the answer either. Can Caratini fill the void?
Listed at six foot, and 195 pounds, Caratini appears closer to 210. He has a compact, muscular frame with a wide base. Victor Caratini’s near maxed out physically. In time, his speed will degrade as well, although the second rounder is sneaky fast at present once underway.
At the plate, Caratini’s two-game sample included only at bats from the left side. A crouched stance creates a small strike zone and his quiet load and swing speaks to future consistency in Caratini’s hit tool. In this sample, he was consistently out front on both fastballs and breaking balls, leading to a number of ground ball outs. With a natural lack of lift due to a flat swing plane, Victor Caratini will have to sit back and pepper line drives to all fields to be successful. Caratini presented with little power in batting practice and game action, leading to an initial comp to Rockies Jordan Pacheco. In the South Atlantic League, Pacheco presented as a more consistent hitter, but was also 23 at the time. Victor Caratini is just 20.
The only look at Caratini from the right side was in batting practice. With a more upright stance and bat head which was in and out of the strike zone quickly, the initial reaction is the switch hitter will be stronger from the left side going forward.
Third base proved a challenge defensively for Caratini. On a slow roller, he charged (seemingly in slow motion), fielded the ball bare-handed and threw out the base runner by half a step. It sounds like an excellent play on paper, only the runner thrown out was the Savannah catcher. Victor Caratini fielded balls in front of him well and displayed a strong throwing arm. However, his lateral movement is limited to a step and a dive.
Behind the plate, Caratini’s pop times were in the 2.22-2.27 range in between innings. He fires out well and has a strong throwing arm, but a hitch in the back of Caratini’s throwing motion costs precious tenths of seconds. As with all catching converts, his glove work needs improvement — especially to the inner half. It’s difficult to stick and frame inside pitches against right-handed hitters for strikes. At present, Caratini struggles with this as pitch velocity overtakes the glove. He framed a low pitch well (in the video), and presents with soft hands given the lack of experience at the position. Assessing blocking skills will require more looks, but Caratini allowed no wild pitches or passed balls.
On a ground ball, Victor Caratini ran a surprising 4.25 home-to-first time. The 45/80 run time was surprising. In time, his speed will degrade further given Caratini’s stocky build.
Three years ago, a love for “toolsy” players would have resulted in a quick dismissal of Caratini’s skill set. However, the development of the aforementioned Pacheco forces a closer look at the Braves second rounder. While not an impact talent, a switch hitter with the ability to stick at catcher has value, even if the power never develops. And having been a catcher-turned second baseman-turned catcher again, knowing Caratini played the keystone at the college level means his soft hands and present athleticism is a fit for the position.
Projected Role Utility C / 3B Hitting Ability 35 50 Power 25 35 Speed 45 35 Fielding Ability 35 45 Arm 40 45
Owning Victor Caratini
At draft time, prospect followers see a player taken with the 65th pick and believe the player must have legitimate MLB value. However, time at the ballpark teaches the difference between the top-3, top-10, top-20 and so on can be exponential, not incremental. In Reality Fantasy Baseball where the league boasts 20-plus teams with 85-man rosters, Victor Caratini has value as a future big leaguer with multi-position eligibility. Of course most every fantasy baseball league is more shallow, leaving the Braves prospect with little-to-no value at present.
16 Apr 2014 / Mike Newman /
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