Scouting Yankees Prospect #18: Jose Campos

The New York Yankees acquired right-handed pitcher Jose Campos from the Seattle Mariners in January of 2012 in the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade. Not exactly the bastion of health since that time, he missed most of the 2012 season with an ailing elbow, was on a strict innings limit in 2013, and eventually succumbed to Tommy John surgery in April of 2014.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jose Campos
Position: Pitcher
DOB: July 27, 1992
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 195
Bats: Right
Throws: Right


Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2013

Charleston

4-2

0

87.0

82

16

77

3.41

2012

Charleston

3-0

0

24.2

20

8

26

4.01

2011

Everett

5-5

0

81.1

66

13

85

2.32

2010

VSL Mariners

8-2

0

57.0

49

19

59

3.16

2009

VSL Mariners

1-3

1

33.0

38

16

23

5.73



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider.

Fastball. When it comes to actual radar gun readings Campos' fastball is more above average than plus, sitting mostly 91-94 mph and not so much in the mid-90s range. However, he does get some late life and giddy-up on his fastball, and that allows it to play up to a plus level as hitters can't really barrel up his hater. There were pre-trade reports of him hitting 97 mph with the Mariners but that velocity hasn't materialized in Pinstripes. Still, it's his very easy delivery and arm action that generates a lot of deception and he can command his fastball better than most.

Other Pitches. What makes Campos so effective on the mound is the possession of two quality secondary pitches that he can throw for strikes; his curveball and changeup. Just like his fastball they both grade out as more above average than truly plus but both show long-term plus potential. He used to favor his power curveball as his secondary pitch of choice but he began using his changeup more prior to his Tommy John surgery, and conventional wisdom suggests that will be even further the case upon his return too as breaking pitches usually take a bit longer to bring back. His changeup shows real good fade and depth, and his command of it should be even better once he gets back into games. His curveball is a true swing and miss strikeout pitch, sitting mostly in the low to mid-80s, and he had dabbled with a slider prior to his surgery. It remains to be seen if it remains a slider or if it [like it has for so many other Yankee pitchers in recent seasons] will morph into a cutter.

Pitching. There's no messing around for Campos when he's on the mound, he is complete business when he toes the rubber. He attacks batters consistently with strike one pitches, gets ahead in counts frequently, limits the walks, and doesn't beat himself on the mound. Extremely efficient because of his effortless delivery and innate ability to throw any pitch for strikes, he's not afraid to pitch to contact and he also has the strikeout stuff to put batters away once he's up two strikes in the count. The business-like approach is also very palpable with his facial expressions -- he shows no emotions whatsoever; he has the same face if he's up eight runs or down eight runs. In that regard, he is extremely unflappable and he has off-the-charts makeup. Big-bodied and and extremely strong too, ironically a pitcher who has amassed just 111 innings over the past three years, he is built to be very durable and he shows a lot of stamina when healthy.

Projection. Both physically and mentally Campos has the kind of game that should easily project him as one of the safer bets to tap his potential as a big league middle of the rotation starting pitcher at minimum someday. With plus-plus makeup, above average command of three above average pitches with room to get better, and natural strength, the ceiling could be even higher. However, while all that is true and undeniable, the fact is he hasn't pitched a whole lot of innings over the past three seasons and he's not exactly in line to pitch a full season in 2015 either so his chances of fulfilling that kind of potential with the Yankees are a bit muddied at this point. Signed to a minor league free agent contract this past offseason after being removed from the 40-man roster, his time in the Yankee organization will be limited more than most and that ticking clock could force the Yankees hands and have him develop as a reliever upon his return. He has setup man potential but that's not where his extended long-term value lies; it's in a starting capacity where he's better served. Don't be surprised if he, like San Francisco hurler and former Mets pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit, breaks in to the big league level initially as a middle to long reliever and spot starter, and works his way into some starting opportunities as they're given.

ETA. 2016. Campos is set to return sometime this season and it will most likely be in the Florida State League. Whether he's labeled a starter or a reliever in 2015 doesn't matter; he isn't going to pitch more than two or three innings at a time in either capacity. If he can show some adequate results immediately he could get a late-season test in Double-A. With 2015 his rehab season, it will be 2016 where the Yankees will most likely have to force-feed Campos up the minor league ladder if they plan on keeping him long-term.


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