He's kind of the forgotten man in the Montero-Pineda blockbuster. But from most reports about the young righty (a top 10 Seattle farm hand), it sounds like he could be an elite pitching prospect very soon.
We'll start by looking at his pro stats. You can see that his career began extremely early; he was pitching in the Venezuelan Summer League (he hails from La Guaira, VE, by the way) at 16. He struggled, primarily with control, walking 16 batters in 33 innings while allowing more than a hit per inning. He improved enough the next season (57 IP, 3.16 ERA, 19 BB, 59 K) for Seattle to promote him all the way to full-season ball this year (skipping two levels). It was well deserved, especially considering the 18-year-old led the Low-A Northwest League in ERA and strikeouts (with an awesome 6.5 K/BB), impressive for such a young age.
Throw in the scouting report, and you can understand why Jose Campos is so highly thought of. First off, he's tall: 6'4", 195 lbs. If he fills that out, it'll be a perfect pitcher's body. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90s and has approached triple digits. His curveball and changeup, right now, still need work, but that's to be expected for a teenager -
For a youngster, he has [an] 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 [Washington] 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...
Expect him to start the year at Hi-A Tampa.
More on Campos.
And other thoughts on the deal:
- I'm actually surprised Seattle made the deal. They looked to be set up with a dynamic 1-2 at the front of their rotation for the next decade. Yes, they needed offense... but Prince Fielder was out there.
- I know they have a few more excellent pitching prospects on the way, but remember when Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain were just that? Pineda has proven he's a big leaguer.
- Jon Heyman said the Yanks offered Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances for Felix. Considering Felix is owed almost $60M over the next three years, I'm surprised Seattle didn't make that deal.
- The M's must think Montero can passably play catcher, a sentiment the Yanks apparently did not share. Considering Girardi's penchant for defense-first catchers, Montero may not have gotten many catching opportunities in New York anyway.
- Considering what was required to land Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez, and that Brian Cashman offered to trade Montero, Ivan Nova and David Adams for half a season of Cliff Lee 18 months ago, this is a steal. Pineda is nine years younger than Lee was and won't be a free agent until 2017 - oh, and Nova's not involved.
- Cashman sold high on Montero. He's not going to OPS 1.000 over 500+ AB in 2012. He could in a few years, but not yet. Did Seattle sell high on Pineda?
- Unfortunately, the burdensome position player contracts the Yanks have handed out recently (A-Rod, Tex) contributed to Montero's departure. Management just felt like they had little to no flexibility in the lineup. Now the older guys can sub in at DH when they need half a day off. But I liked knowing we had a young stud in the lineup, especially considering no other regular is under 28. When Robbie Cano is safely in his decline phase, Montero would've been entering his prime.
- Add in the Kuroda signing (which I like a lot) and you have to wonder about Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. Frankly, I think Cash will try to deal both Hughes and Burnett, possibly in the same package ("If you want Hughes, you have to take Burnett") for a hitter and/or prospects. I would love Hughes to win the fifth starter's spot, but he was utterly out-pitched last year by Garcia. It could happen again. If so, I'm sure a team willing to give him a legitimate shot to start is out there and willing to pay for it (via prospects).
- I was really looking forward to watching Montero own the short RF porch for the next 10 years. He would've benefited from Yankee Stadium (and Pineda did/would've benefited from Safeco).
- I'm a bit worried about Pineda's fly-ball, second half, road and struggles against .500+ teams. Someone tell me not to worry... Thanks, BTB.
- With all that said, there will be a clear winner in this trade. It looks fair right now, but I believe that in a few years we'll look back and declare that one of the clubs deeply regrets it.
- The buzz now is that Jorge Vazquez will get a shot to be the 2012 DH. Absolutely. The guy will strike out, but he'll also hit bombs. If not, he should be traded. He's 30 years old. He won't be getting any better. Now's the time to use him (to either help the ML club or to bring someone back via trade).
- Rob Neyer liked William's analysis of the trade.