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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.

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  1. Bourne says:
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    I don’t understand how you have a guy with a decent avg and capable of a sb a series not lead off. 50-70 sb has to result in at least 20 more runs. Runs make leads and leads make wins

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Bourne, looking back at the Cubs over the last few years, it sadly makes sense. Hopefully they snap out of it by June or sooner and have Capana atop that lineup.

  2. royce! says:
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    Maybe the Cubs should trade him to the Rockies and they can not play him but instead have him race Eric Young Jr. as mid-game entertainment? Seems like it’s the only way they’ll get any value out of EY, because they’re clearly dead set against starting him.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @royce!, haha, I know! As a Mariners fan, I keep dreaming they trade EY to Seattle for money for a replacement humidor.

      • royce! says:
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        @Oregon Nut Cups, Rockies always seem to be interested in over the hill third baseman… who am I kidding, the M’s are stuck with Figgins. At least they’ve got their pitching!

        I grew up in Seattle and have lived in San Diego for a while now, so through nothing but blind fate, I’ve managed to become a fan of two teams that struggle to score more than two runs a game. I like to think that it has made me a better, more patient and forgiving person. But I like to think all sorts of stuff. Like that the Padres will be the team to beat in 2014.

        • Oregon Nut Cups

          Oregon Nut Cups says:
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          @royce!, well, I wouldn’t be too surprised. They are in a weaker division AND their farm system is fairly decent. I wouldn’t put money on it, but could see 2014 being a competitive year for them depending on moves up to that point.

          • royce! says:
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            @Oregon Nut Cups, Yep, them and the M’s in the 2014 WS. It’s a wonder that I even watch baseball, considering how easy it is to predict this.

            • Oregon Nut Cups

              Oregon Nut Cups says:
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              @royce!, Haha, well I’ll be watching the interleague series much more scrupulously this year then seeing if we can see scores that don’t look like they just played soccer.

  3. A-Ram Baller says:
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    The problem with Campana is that he needs to get on base for him to steal bases. The only way he can get on base is by pinch running. The guy straight up is not very good at baseball.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @A-Ram Baller, my comparison point on the level of talent was that of Dee Gordon, a guy that’s projected to have a .270 average and about a .300 OBP to go with 42 steals. Dee also had about a 4:1 GB/FB ratio last year. If Dee Gordon has an ADP of 143 for his projected statline, I think it’s good to keep Tony Campana on the radar in case the Cubs give him a shot and start moving some of their older outfield. Remember, Bonifacio was just straight up not good at baseball before 2011 too :)

  4. John says:
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    Speaking of pinch running, if a few of the 24 stolen bases came while pinch running it seems inappropriate to include them when prorating to 500 at bats. I don’t have the pleasure of watching the cubs, so I’m not sure if that was the case.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @John, As a starter he hit .253 with a .304 OBP and stole 11 bases in 104 PA; the other situations called him a PH so I will throw them out seeing as baseball reference did not clearly identify if he actually pinch ran or pinch hit. The math puts him at about 52 steals if we spread that out over 500 PA. Doing the same with Dee Gordon and his starts, we get about 49. So yes, in a way his 24 stolen bases might be misleading but the underlying math still fits with the skill set we’re examining.

  5. Big B says:
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    Shout out to Tony. He was my boy back at the University of Cincinnati. Broke the stolen base record there in one season stealing 80 something I believe. Boy can flat out fly…

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Big B, for your sake, I hope this deep league flyer turns into a big league reality :)

  6. Andy says:
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    A little disappointed that Brian LaHair’s name was not mentioned. If Rizzo produces, LaHair could end up with a lot of OF AB’s by season’s end.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Andy, He’s one of those names I personally don’t have a huge amount of faith in. It’s not to say it couldn’t happen that he nabs a corner OF spot, though. To be fair, all 3 OF should be moved by the deadline so if they do bring up Rizzo, I’d love to see an OF of Jackson, Campana & LaHair. To be 100% honest, if LaHair produces, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept Rizzo down until September depending how that OF shakes out.

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