Name: Jose Campos
Notable 2011 Stats: 2.32 ERA, 2.38 FIP, 4 HRA, 13 BB, 85 K, 51% GB% in 81 1/3 IP with Everett (Short-season-A)
Why He’s This High: Despite turning just 19 toward the middle of the Northwest League season, Campos had a big year across the board with Everett, showing good command, groundball ability, and strikeout ability.
Of course, performance in short-season leagues alone isn’t going to get a player on a top 100 list; he has to have upside beyond that, and Campos does. He’s got a bigtime fastball, coming in at 91-93 mph with heavy action on it, and his projectable frame should allow him to gain more velocity. He already does an excellent job spotting the pitch, as evidenced by his superb performance.
Campos already complements the fastball with a solid slider, and while he needs to develop a third pitch, he’s so young that he has plenty of time to figure that out.
Mechanically, Campos is quite smooth, and there aren’t any major red flags in his motion. With his size and easy delivery, he projects to handle a big workload in the big leagues.
Why He’s This Low: Campos obviously still has a lot to prove, being a 19-year-old pitcher who has yet to see full-season action yet. He’ll need to prove his arm can hold up for a full season, and that his performance will translate against more advanced hitters.
More in the long term, he’ll need to develop a changeup, and both his fastball and slider will need to take a step forward if he’s going to project as a front-of-the-rotation guy. It’s reasonable to expect that those improvements could all occur, due to his projectability and the amount of time he’ll have to refine everything, but far stranger things have happened than the stagnation of a seemingly projectable pitcher.
Conclusions: Campos has bigtime upside, but he’s a long way from the big leagues and he thus has many improvements to make if he’s going to approach his upside. It’s telling that he’s come this far this fast–a year ago, he was barely a blip on the prospect radar, and now this rating might almost look conservative–Baseball America placed Campos third on its list of top Northwest League prospects (although, incidentally, he’s the only NWL prospect to make my top 100), calling him the “most electric arm” in the circuit.
Since he’s so raw and unproven, I’m being conservative with this ranking and not pushing him even higher, but Campos is a pitcher who could put himself in the top 50 conversation just by sustaining his performance next year in Low-A and staying healthy. The development of his offspeed stuff will determine whether he’s just an innings-eater or a legitimate frontline starter, and while such dramatic improvements are quite plausible, it’s equally sensible to maintain some skepticism about what sort of gains he’s going to make.
In any case, he’s an exciting young arm to keep tabs on; his performance in 2012 could push him quite far up or down prospect lists.
Check out all of the Seedlings To Stars 2012 Top 100 Prospects here!
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