|Jose Campos: Image thanks to snyguys.com|
The recent trade, like it or not, of Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi netted the Yankees two pitchers, one extremely promising young major leaguer, and one extremely promising young minor leaguer. Michael Pineda is the major league pitcher they received. Although there is a great deal of excitement surrounding his arrival, he is not a prospect, he's a major league arm. Jose Campos, on the other hand, is fair game for this blog.
Jose Campos is 19 years old from Venezuela and measures 6'4, while weighing in at 195 lbs according to milb.com. Kelvim and Alcides Escobar are his cousins. His statistics have been quite impressive thus far. His first year he pitched in rookie ball, but only threw 33 innings at the age of 17. He posted a 5.73 ERA along with 23 strikeouts. The next year in the same league (VSL Mariners) he threw 57 innings and had a 3.16 ERA with 59 strikeouts and just 19 walks. Needless to say this earned him a promotion to Short Season ball in 2011, where he was nothing short of dominant. He pitched 81.1 innings of 2.32 ERA ball and struck out 85 batters while walking just 13 (1.44 BB/9). That was good for number one in the Northwest League in both ERA and strikeouts. Baseball America ranked him the 3rd best prospect in the league. Did I mention he was dominant?
His fastball ranges from 92-95 and has reached 98 mph on occasion. He locates the fastball very well, as is indicated by his miniscule walk numbers. Scouts say he has a lot of movement with late life on the fastball, as well as some good deception in his delivery. It has also been described as a heavy fastball. He also throws a slider, and curveball which have flashed plus potential. The slider sits at 83-84 MPH with late breaking action, although it isn't a huge break. The curveball is 12-6 but it doesn't have great breaking action. It sits at 73-74, and right now serves more as a changeup since there isn't much break. He also throws a changeup which is in the early stages of development. Here is a great scouting video on him from baseball instinct.
Scouts praise his makeup, and say he has a ton of poise on the mound. His ceiling is anywhere from a #1-2 starter to a late inning reliever. That will always be the case with a guy this young who is able to get that kind of velocity, movement, and deception on his fastball. The jury is out on his other pitches, but he's got a projectable frame and a great mindset on the mound. He will either start at High A Tampa or Low A Charleston this year for the Yankees. Many are speculating that he will be in high A, but with the depth of our pitching right now I wouldn't rule out Charleston.
Baseball America slots him in as our #5 prospect, as does mlb.com. They put him ahead of Romine. Personally, I want to see him develop some secondary offerings before he is thrown ahead of Romine, so he is currently my #7 prospect, behind Ravel Santana, who I have moved up to #6 since he is making a full recovery from his gruesome injury.
Coming Soon: Rafael DePaula Scouting report.