Last week I took a trip to the Dominican Summer League and found a freak of nature, Shendrik Apostel. This young man sets himself apart from others by his size and power. While I was down there another athletic freak caught my eye, but this time it was due to his speed and defense prowess. Not too many players are given an 80 grade for any of their tools; especially not at the age of 17 years old. This is exactly what Pittsburgh Pirates Outfield Prospect Sergio Campana was given by Fangraphs for both his current and future value. It is no joke, this kid is lightning quick!
Signed by the Pirates as an international free agent on July 2, 2018 out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for $500,000, Campana was the 12th ranked Outfielder and 35th ranked player Overall by Baseball America. He immediately reported to Pittsburgh’s Dominican Republic Academy to begin his training. He would remain their until the renovations began in early 2019, at which time he was officially assigned to the DSL Pirates1 to start his professional career.
In his first year with the DSL Pirates1 Campana was a little aggressive at the plate, resulting in a 22.3% Strike Out to 7.6% Walk Rate. However he did maintain an above average .362 OBP and proved dangerous on the base paths with 24 Stolen Bases in only 45 games. His batting average also consistently rose as each month passed, going from .250 in June the whole way up to .302 in August. During the short season he accumulated 6 Triples, but unfortunately did not get a single Homerun; not yet realizing the full potential of his power as he grows into his 6’1” 175 lb frame. I am not saying he is going to a 30/30 man in the major leagues. However, there is a 50 future value grade on his Raw Power, so I am not ruling out around 15 to 20.
As the 2020 season is waiting in wings, the young speedster celebrated his 18th Birthday. This lines him up to spend another year down in the DSL playing for the Pirates1, which would still fit into the ETA at PNC Park in 2023, if he spends only one year at each additional level in the Pirates Farm System. Projected as a Centerfielder due to his speed (80), defense (60) and average arm (50), he would be competing with many of the players above him, including Jared Oliva and Travis Swaggerty. He can easily slide to one of the other outfield positions, but I don’t see him doing it without putting up a fight.