Jose Campos, rhp Age: 19. Born: July 27, 1992 in La Guaira, Venezuela. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195. Bats: R. Throws: R. Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Mariners, Jan. 15, 2009.
Campos signed with the Mariners for $115,000 in January 2009. A cousin of big leaguers Alcides and Kelvim Escobar, Campos led the short-season Northwest League in ERA (2.32) and strikeouts (85) in his U.S. debut, ranking as the No. 4 prospect. His fastball operates at 92-95 mph and has been clocked as high as 98. For a youngster, he has advanced feel for pitching off his fastball and locating it. His heater has deception, angle and life. Just a thrower when he got to Everett last summer, he grew as a pitcher. His hard curveball and his changeup show flashes of becoming plus pitches. They lack consistency but improved as he cleaned up his delivery, as the Mariners helped him soften his landing and getting better extension out front. He shows poise on the mound and fills the strike zone. Campos should join a wave of Yankees prospects heading to low Class A Charleston in 2012, a group including 2011 supplemental first-rounder Dante Bichette Jr., outfielder Mason Williams and other members of its 2011 championship teams at short-season Staten Island and in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
On the heels of what may well be the most intriguing deal of the off-season, the acquisition of Jose Campos has been somewhat lost in the ephemera. This is certainly somewhat justifiable, as Jesus Montero has been the Yankees top prospect for the past few seasons, and Michael Pineda represents the veritable white whale to follow CC Sabathia in the Yankees rotation (and, interestingly enough, has been labeled as a potential right-handed doppelganger of the ace). Both players are likely to have enormous impacts on the respective fates of the Mariners and Yankees, for better or worse … where Campos is unlikely to even reach the Majors prior to 2014. That being said, the inclusion of Campos may well be the factor that swings the balance in favor of Cashman and company.
Signed out of Venezuela three years ago today, the 19-year-old Campos made his stateside debut in the short season Northwest League in 2011. The 6’4″, 195 lb right-hander paced the NWL in strikeouts, while leading all starters in K/BB (6.54) and ranking third in ERA (2.32) and K/9 (9.4). This is made all the more impressive by Campos’ status as the fourth-youngest pitcher in the league.
Campos works with a fairly standard three-pitch repertoire at this point – a four-seamer, a curveball, and a change-up. At this juncture, Campos’ fastball is his bread-and-butter. It sits between 92 and 95 MPH, occasionally touching 98, and it features excellent late life. It is made all the more effective by his ability to consistently command the pitch, painting the corners at will. Campos’ curve has shown flashes of being an average to above-average offering, though the consistency of its break is far outpaced by his ability to command the pitch (which is less of an issue than the opposite, in the minds of many). At its best, the curve is a true power pitch with fantastic movement … and Campos has plenty of time to improve. Campos’ change has improved by leaps and bounds since his signing, but it shares the same issues of inconsistency as his curve. That he can command it well at only 19 is impressive, to be sure, and, again, there isn’t much of a rush. It is also worth noting that many scouts have praised his mechanics, noting that he was very willing to listen to coaching with the Mariners in cleaning up his delivery. This, taken in conjunction with his build, should be paramount in his durability.
As it stands, there is precious little information beyond scouting reports and 81 IP in the United States. The consensus, based upon said reports and statistics, is that Campos profiles as a third starter with the potential for much more – a consensus that I believe to be quite fair, though Campos’ full-season debut with Low-A Charleston will be very telling in this regard. For the time being, Campos should slot in behind Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances as the third-best pitching prospect in the system (no small feat), while joining Dante Bichette, Jr. and Mason Williams on what may be the most exciting team in the Yankees organization.
Background A Southern California kid born in Torrance and raised on Corona, Pinder lettered in baseball all four years at Centennial High School. He earned All-Division honors his final two years in school, was named league Pitcher of the Year as a junior, and helped the Huskies to the league title as a senior. Despite all that, Pinder wasn’t much of a pro prospect and he went undrafted after graduating in 2007. Oregon tried to woo him to their re-instated program, but he instead opted to attend Santa Ana College.
Pinder stepped right into the rotation as a freshman in 2008, going 8-2 with a 4.23 ERA in 17 starts. That earned him All-Orange Empire honors, and he helped the Dons to the league championship. Pinder got the nod on Opening Day as a sophomore, but his season ended after just four starts due to an unknown injury. He took a medical redshirt, allowing him to retain a year of college eligibility. Pinder was eligible to be drafted after both his freshman and sophomore seasons since Santa Ana is a two-year school, but no team bit. He instead transferred to Long Beach State.
The Dirtbags used Pinder as their primary Sunday starter in 2010, and he pitched to a 4.85 ERA in 85.1 IP. He was again draft-eligible after the season, but again went undrafted. Pinder posted a 5.29 ERA in 63 IP as a redshirt junior in 2011, making eleven starts and seven relief appearances. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him as the 68th best prospect in Southern California after the season, and the Yankees selected in the 16th round with the 509th overall pick. He signed quickly for an unknown bonus.
Pro Debut The Yankees assigned Pinder to Short Season Staten Island after signing, where he served as the Baby Bombers’ closer. He didn’t walk his first batter until his 14th appearance, and finished the year with an 11.03 K/9 (32.8 K%) and 1.45 BB/9 (4.3 BB%) in 31 IP. His 1.16 ERA and 1.94 FIP earned him a place on the All-Star Team, and contributed to Baseball America ranking him as the 19th best prospect in the circuit.
Scouting Report A starter with an 89-91 mph fastball and a sweepy, high-70′s slider when drafted, the Yankees shifted Pinder to the bullpen and streamlined both his delivery and his repertoire. Just like that, he started sitting 94-95 with his fastball and occasionally touched 97. He added some bite to his slider and at times it was a legitimate strikeout pitch, though the pitch needs work because it tends to flatten out on occasion. The fosh changeup he threw in college has been pushed aside thanks to his new role.
Big and strong at 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs., Pinder has a low arm slot and throws across his body a bit, so it remains to be seen if he can be as successful at limiting walks as he was with Staten Island long-term. Here are twoclips of him from this past summer.
2012 Outlook The Yankees figure to send Pinder to High-A Tampa to start the season since he was drafted as what amounts to a college senior thanks to the medical redshirt. He turns 23 in less than two weeks, and as a reliever they can be a little more aggressive with him.
My Take The Yankees have done a fine job of turning late draft picks into viable relief options in recent years, and Pinder continues the tradition. I want to see him show that heavy fastball over a full season and gain some more consistency with the slider before I declare him the next great relief prospect, but he is off to a really awesome start. The big strong frame and deceptive delivery are pluses as well. Power relievers out of college should dominate the low minors, so we won’t know too much about Pinder’s long-term value until he gets to Double-A. If all goes right, that could happen in the second half of this coming season.
Jose Campos: Scouting Report on the Newest Top NY Yankees Prospect
Jesus Monterobeing shipped out west to theSeattle Marinersin exchange for high-upside flamethrower Michael Pineda was rightfully at the epicenter ofMLBtalk this past weekend.
Many could argue that noYankeeshitting prospect has been this hyped since Bobby Murcer and any time a player compared to Manny Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera gets dealt, it will dominate the headlines.
Flying under the radar, however, was another exciting young pitcher New York acquired in the same deal.
Jose Campos, a 19-year-old capable of hitting upwards of 98 MPH on the gun, could very well be the steal of the deal for GM Brian Cashman and his Yanks.
Campos posted a 2.32 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 85 K in Single-A in 2011—all while allowing just 13 BB in 81.1 IP over 14 starts.
While still having a long way to go in his development, Campos’ stellar strikeout/walk ratio and consistent velocity are things not typically present in a power arm still six months from his 20th birthday.
Bart Klett over atBaseballInstinct.comhas agreat pieceoutlining Campos’ upside, describing his impressive fastball as such:
"Campos is listed as 6’4” and this helps him to get downward plane on his fastball. His fastball has been described as heavy and I think that is a fair description. Very few hitters are able to square up and drive the ball with any authority. In fact, at the games that I have observed, not many hitters actually got the ball out of the infield."
Numbers can be very misleading in the lower levels of minor league baseball. But the qualities described about Campos are things that translate to the upper levels and provide the foundation for success against more seasoned hitters.
Most would considerBaseball Americathe premier prospect analyzers in the country—at worst on the short list of trusted voices—and they have a very recent scouting update on Camposfound here.
In the description, Jim Callis explains how the trade impacts the Yankees’ Top-10 prospect list:
"The Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda tradenot only sent promising righthander Jose Campos to the Yankees, but it also meant that he got blocked from appearing on two Top 10 Prospects lists he otherwise would have made. We already released ourYankees Top 10in advance of the trade, and our Mariners Top 10 will come out afterward. Campos would have ranked No. 5 on both lists."
This puts Campos as the third best pitching prospect in the Yankee's system behind Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, high praise considering both are viewed as future top-of-the-rotation starters
In fact, Campos is on par in terms of upside, as Conor Glassey in the same BA article states that “the Yankees targeted Pineda to upgrade their rotation and Campos gives them a second potential frontline starter down the road.”
While Yankees fans were frustrated—if not angered—at dealing away their favorite prospect, they received TWO arms in return that you simply do not find often.
Jesus Montero, C/DH Seattle Mariners Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
If Jesus Montero becomes Manny Ramirez and Michael Pineda never develops a quality changeup, the deal will be a failure. But if Jose Campos passes Pineda by and becomes a top No. 2 starter like a Dan Haren or Jon Lester, the Yankees can save face.
The point is, the little discussed Campos provides for a contingency plan to make the trade a big success come 2015, and a 50 percent return on these arms still results in a potential win-win.
If both reach their full potential, however, Brian Cashman may have just pulled off the biggest coup of his tenure as Yankees GM.
Campos has some work to do in harnessing his natural power and throwing his slider and curveball with more consistency, but Yankees fans can rest assured that he is as far away from a “throw-in” as it gets.
While Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi are MLB-ready and tough to lose, Pineda and Campos may just have long and memorable careers here in the Bronx.
Bio: Whitley was the Yankees' 15th-round selection in 2010, out of Troy University. He's 22 years old, stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 220 pounds, and made it to Trenton in his first full season. Like future Thunder pitcher Preston Claiborne, he skipped Charleston entirely on the way to the system's upper levels.
2011: Whitley spent the first half of the year with Tampa, where he put up some fantastic numbers, including a 1.68 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of exactly 4-to-1.
Despite the numbers, the scouts I've spoken with regarding Whitley are less than impressed. One who saw him in Tampa said he looked more like a thrower than a pitcher, noting the average fastball and still-developing change-up. Another, who saw him with Trenton, said that, to him, Whitley was "just a guy."
The numbers took a drop once he reached the Thunder, with whom Whitley put up an ERA of 3.38, more than twice what it was with Tampa. Even worse, especially considering his spacious confines at Waterfront Park, his home runs tripled.
What's Next: Whitley will probably return to Trenton to begin 2012, where he will most likely be either the eighth- or ninth-inning guy (the team doesn't like to designate anyone as a "closer" per se).
The following a guest post from David Gershman, better know as The Gersh around the Twitterverse. He spent last summer covering the NY-Penn League, and today gives us a firsthand scouting report on Mason Williams, the Yankees top position player prospect now that Jesus Montero is headed to Seattle. You can follow Gersh on Twitter at @Dave_Gershman.
(Photo via MiLB.com)
Of all the talent I was able to spectate in 2011, hardly anyone caught my eye to the extent of Mason Williams, Staten Island’s everyday center-fielder. The New York-Penn League technically ranks as the third lowest developmental level in baseball, ahead of the Pioneer and Appy Leagues and the Gulf Coast League. Therefore, finding talent to keep an eye on is somewhat rare. As a matter of fact, on a good year there might only be one elite-level talent worth watching in the Penn League. While I’m not claiming Williams to be an elite-level prospect, his upside and advanced skill-set are through the roof, clearly making him a must-see talent.
A scout once requested my opinion on Williams and my reasoning for touting him as much as I did last season. I replied, “After months of Extended Spring Training work, Williams began to hit the cover off of the ball right out of the gate and continued doing so even after the first week of the season. There wasn’t any point throughout the year in which he cooled off, and it was rather astonishing.” I labeled his everlasting performance as astonishing simply because inconsistency is so common amongst prospects at the short-season level. And it’s especially colloquial for those playing their first season as a professional. On to the report.
Williams is a terrific athlete with assets and upside that could make him an above-average major leaguer in the not-too-distant future. Quick hands, loads of bat speed and a smooth bat plain make him an advanced hitter, one that hits both lefties and righties without much problem for someone of his age and level. Williams is prone to making bad contact at times, given his high tendency to swing early in the count and, more importantly, at lousy pitches, but plate discipline is an aspect of his game I imagine he’ll be working to ameliorate until he reaches the majors.
While his approach needs some tuning, he has the right idea. As one professional scout noted, “a hitter constantly swinging at pitches early in the count would generally warrant some concern, but if the hitter is either making good contact with pitches in the zone or swinging at hittable pitches than there isn’t much of a problem, and Mason Williams often overdoes it, he customarily accounts for both.”
Williams has a thin and wiry frame, but contains tons of physicality and, in correspondence, some of the most physical upside the Yankees system. He isn’t expected to possess too much power down the road, but certainly enough to avoid being considered a “slap-hitter” of any sort. Remaining a center fielder isn’t a question, but the role system (at least according to two scouts), suggests that Angelo Gumbs might be a more adequate center-field option than Williams should both progress at a similar rate. Williams’ plus range and baseball instincts, at least for me, make him a more-than-viable candidate to be an every day center-fielder for the Yanks down the road. Williams seemed to have developed refined accuracy as last season progressed. Accuracy sure is expected to develop accordingly, but arm strength is slightly different. As players fill out and develop more fortitude and muscle, they improve the distance and accuracy on their throws. Being that his arm is currently below average unquestionably is a non-issue.
The reason I gave Williams such a low power projection is mostly due to lack of leverage and loft in his swing. Although it’s quick and stays through the zone, it’s choppy and rather flat. That doesn’t make him a bad hitter by any means; it just decreases his power projection. That said, he’s shown the ability to hit to all fields and, in doing so, drive the ball. Additionally, I upgraded his overall future potential (OFP) because his range and speed suggest such an adjustment.
All professional scouts have a specific computer program that automatically adjusts OFP based on the weight of the prospect and his positional grade requirements. Meaning, center fielders are supposed to have plus range and speed, even if they aren’t that good of hitters. However, what if a first-baseman grades out to have 30 power but 70 speed and defense? His adjusted OFP would lower significantly since first base is a power position. Thus, center field is a speed and defense position.
The Yankees have a rare commodity in Williams, a clear center-fielder with the ability to hit. He’s only 20-years of age, so the Yankees obviously won’t be rushing him at any point. That said, if he shows he can hit in Charleston I’d expect him to finish the season off in Tampa and eventually head to Trenton sometime in 2013. Unlike his time spent in Staten Island, Williams won’t be hitting .349 in Charleston this season, but you can unequivocally expect a to see improvements and maturity in Mason Williams’ game. He’s a bright player with a bright future.
Background The cousin of former big leaguer Kelvim Escobar and current big leaguer Alcides Escobar, Campos grew up in the Venezuelan port town of La Guaira. The Cardinals tried to sign him in late-2008/early-2009, but his parents refused to sign the contract. When the Mariners stepped in and offered a slightly larger bonus — $115k — he joined Seattle in January of ’09.
Pro Career The Mariners assigned Campos to the Venezuelan Summer League in both 2009 and 2010, where he pitched to a 4.10 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 35 walks in 90 total innings. They brought him stateside in 2011, holding him back in Extended Spring Training before shuffling him off to their short season Northwest League affiliate. The 19-year-old Campos was the best right-handed pitcher in the circuit, posting a 2.32 ERA with 85 strikeouts (9.4 K/9 and 25.7 K%) and 13 walks (1.4 BB/9 and 3.9 BB%) in 81.1 IP across 14 starts. After the season, Baseball America ranked him as the third best prospect in the league.
The Yankees officially acquired Campos and Michael Pineda from the Mariners in exchange for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi earlier this week.
Scouting Report Listed at 6-foot-4 and 195 lbs., Campos is all about the fastball. He routinely sits 93-95 with life on the pitch and has run it up as high as 98 in the past. His breaking ball is still trying to decide if it wants to be a slider or a curveball, and a nascent changeup rounds out his repertoire. Both offspeed offerings have flashed swing-and-missability and have a chance to develop into above-average pitches down the road. Campos is an extreme strike thrower, filling up the zone with his fastball.
Like many of the prospects the Yankees have targeted in recent years, Campos has drawn praise for his makeup and poise. The Mariners tweaked his delivery just a bit in ExST last year, allowing him to get better extension and throw with his entire body, not just his arm. Here’s some video.
2012 Outlook After dominating a short season league last year, Campos will join what figures to be a prospect-heavy Low-A Charleston roster this coming season. He’ll start the year at 19 and won’t turn 20 until late-July.
My Take I didn’t even know Campos existed until the trade went down, and everything I know about the kid is in this post. He’s obviously years away from the big leagues and far from perfect, but a 19-year-old with command of a heavy fastball is already a strong prospect. Add in a big projectable frame and the makings of two very good offspeed pitches, and you’ve got a special prospect. I’m interested to see him in full season ball next year, particularly in the second half when he gets up there in innings and we can get some decent reports on the breaking ball and change. Campos immediately became the Yankees’ third best pitching prospect with the trade, ahead of the MLB-ready Triple-A guys because of upside.
David Phelps does not have electric stuff, but he finds a way to get it done. He has made three straight minor league All-Star appearances and has a very impressive 38-15 career record. Phelps does not have the same ceiling as some of the other Yankees pitching prospects, but he will eventually be a back-end-of-the-rotation pitcher.
Phelps probably will never get into the Yankees' rotation full-time, but a spot starter or middle reliever is not out of the question. He could also be used as a trade chip to upgrade at DH.
Adam Warren is very similar to David Phelps in that he does not have dominant stuff and does not have a very high ceiling. Warren did have a 2.59 ERA in Double-A in 2010 and has excellent control, but don't expect him to be much more than a back-end-of-the-rotation pitcher or middle reliever.
Warren is major league ready, but with no spot in the rotation or bullpen for him, he may have the same likely fate as David Phelps: sent packing at the trade deadline to help upgrade the Yankees.