Say ‘Tony Campana in Centerfield’. Now say it again, only this time with an Antonio Banderas accent, a la Puss in Boots. There was no reason for any of that, I just want to see how many people will now get that stuck in their head every time they read his name.
Technically, I’m cheating as Grey has already mentioned him in brief in his Fantasy Schmohawk post about Michael Bourn. However, I do feel there’s room to wax poetic about this speed demon. Tony currently does not have a starting role in the Chicago Cubs outfield. For some reason Marlon Byrd, David DeJesus & Alfonso Soriano are slated to receive the brunt of anger for another season of losing. Plus, let us not forget the Cubs current main prospect – Brett Jackson – will most likely get his shot later this summer. So where in this scenario can we see Tony getting the PT for those SB? Well, that outfield isn’t exactly full of spring chickens with the youngest of the three being DeJesus at 32. So what is the opposite of a spring chicken and what happens to them, you ask? I’m pretty sure it’s an old bird and usually their goose is cooked. Hrm, I think my fowl analogies (fowlogies?) are getting mixed. Let’s move on.
The Cubs have been trying their best to shop Alfonso all winter to no avail. Both David & Marlon profile as a good 4th outfielders and could find their way out of Chicago via trade to a contender by summer for outfield depth. And another thing, who exactly is going to hit leadoff for these Cubs? If the experiment stays true, it’s looking like the man with 51 career stolen bases out of 97 attempts, DeJesus. I know no one funks with DeJesus but even if he were R. Kelly and believed he could fly, his age and career profile has him stealing less than 5 bags.
With all the chatter about Dee Gordon being one of the fastest men in baseball, it’s funny how people have forgotten about Campana. In 155 plate appearances last year, he had 24 stolen bases. If you do what I say never to do and extrapolate that over 500 plate appearances, you get 77 steals and lotsa extra numbers to the right of the decimal point that don’t add up to a 78th one. That’s Gordon speed that you can find in the ‘ND’ part of the draft. Fangraphs has both Dee and Tony’s ‘Spd’ rating - something best described here – in the ‘very fast’ tier as they both rated above a 7 in 2011. Though it would be nice to see him strike out less, he has near a 4:1 ground ball to fly ball rate, giving him ample opportunity to put his assets to work. In a full season, I’d conservatively give him a .270 average and about 45 stolen bases.