A sentiment held by many baseball fans is that the Yankees “over-hype their young prospects”. Well, that’s somewhat true, but in general, don’t most teams hype their prospects?
While the New York media has been all over Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Gary Sanchez for a couple of years, Jose Campos, the other pitcher in the Jesus Montero trade, should soon start to garner a lot of attention. However, in this case, the attention and hype may in fact be warranted.
Jose Campos is a tall projectable right-handed 19-year Venezuelan with really easy velocity. His fastball sits 91-92 but routinely hits 95, and in his last start in Charleston, the velocity was holding true through the 6th inning. In addition to plus velocity, Campos is also showing plus fastball command, with the ability to throw in all quadrants and paint corners when necessary. To-date, in 22.0 IP in Low-A, Campos has 23 strikeouts while issuing 5 walks.
While the fastball is showing plus in both velocity and command, his secondary pitches are still a work in progress. His curve is fringe average and he might be better served switching exclusively to a slider that has flashed above average and is candidly, easier to throw. The Charleston staff is clearly working on his secondary pitches, as there has been improvement in each of his three starts.
Fans and fantasy baseball owners always want young prospects to move quickly through the minors, but the reality is that young players like Jose Campos need development. In fact, rarely is a pitcher a finished major league product at age 19 as fastball command and control of secondary pitches is what is worked on in the minor leagues. What’s both unique and exciting about Campos is his pitching mechanics and athleticism allows him to command his plus four-seamer and that is rarely seen in a teenage.
Expect Jose Campos to spend the first half of the 2012 season in Low-A before a promotion to High-A over the summer. The key for Campos will be learning to effectively throw his slider before hitting the upper-minors. Once that’s accomplished, he’ll hone his change-up and then assuming he stays healthy, the Yankees could very well have a second front of the rotation pitcher in their trade for Jesus Montero.