Published: Thursday, 31 July 2014 15:47
Written by Tim Stuart
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today acquired switch-hitting catching prospect Victor Caratini from the Atlanta Braves for infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, left-handed pitcher James Russell and a cash consideration.
Caratini, 20, was selected by the Braves in the second round of the 2013 Draft (65th overall) and 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.
Last year in his first pro season, Caratini was named rookie-level Danville’s Player of the Year after hitting .290 (58-for-200) with 23 doubles, one homer, 25 RBI, a .415 on-base percentage, a .430 slugging percentage and an .845 OPS. He walked 19 times compared to 17 strikeouts last August in earning the club’s player of the month honor.
Caratini has spent all of 2014 with Single-A Rome, where he was named a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star. He hit .279 (90-for-323) with 18 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 42 RBI in 87 games with Rome this year.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Caratini is a native of Puerto Rico and attended Miami Dade Community College.
Russell, 28, departs the Cubs 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. He went 0-2 with one save and a 3.51 ERA (13 ER/33.1 IP) in 44 relief outings this season. Russell was originally selected by the Cubs in the 14th round of the 2007 Draft.
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.