Attention baseball fans! Head over to the official Facebook page of the Chicago Cubs. Witness the reaction from fans who insist that the organization just traded “The next Lou Brock” for a pair of 17-year-old Venezuelan pitching prospects.
For those wondering, “The next Lou Brock” that these fans are referring to: Tony Campana.
Just days after Campana was designated for assignment, the Cubs traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In return, the Cubs received Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo. Both pitchers spent last season in the Dominican Summer League. In 70 innings pitched, Leal had a 2.44 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts). He also had 70 strikeouts and 11 walks. While Castillo had worse stats, he projects as the better long-term prospect.
Leal and Castillo are welcomed additions to an organization that’s starving for young pitching talent.
The trade comes as no surprise because of the depth of role-playing outfielders. Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz and Scott Hairston are locks to make the 25-man roster. And while Dave Sappelt should win the No. 5 role, he does have some competition. Darnell McDonald, Brian Bogusevic and Brent Lillibridge are all hoping to make an impression during spring training, similar to Joe Mather in 2012.
Here’s the deal: I like Campana. He possesses a skill that could help a team in the stretch run. He’s a nice 25th man for a pennant contender who can sacrifice a roster spot on such talent. If Campana improved his arm strength and on-base percentage, maybe he can evolve into a leadoff hitter.
That said, let’s not get carried away. At no point has Campana shown that he’s as complete of a player as Brock was. Not even close. The only similarities between them are that they steal bases and played for the Cubs. And for management to get two assets for someone who could’ve easily gone for nothing?
It’s a good situation for both clubs. The Diamondbacks get a speedy outfielder who could pinch-run for Jason Kubel in late-innings. The Cubs got an early start with adding pitching depth to their farm system. Expect more additions when the 2013 MLB June Draft arrives.