After the Detroit Tigers traded for Daz Cameron as part of a package that sent Justin Verlander to Houston in 2017, the outfielder hopes to make his major league debut in 2020
The Detroit Tigers love bloodlines. Their type rings true with outfielder Daz Cameron, who is the son of former all-star and 17-year veteran Mike Cameron. After an underwhelming season in Toledo, Cameron, 23, hopes to meet the expectations that come with being an MLB player’s son and more in 2020; a year in which he will likely start in Toledo as part of the taxi squad.
Daz joins Pedro Martinez Jr, Kody Clemens, and Parker Meadows as players in the system who have immediate relatives that were all-stars in the major leagues. Considering this and the fact that he was part of the package which shipped out one of the best right-handed starting pitchers in Detroit Tigers history, it is easy to understand why fans expected perfection.
Cameron’s time in Detroit, however, has been a shaky tenure thus far. After being acquired on August 31st, Cameron would only appear in three games for West Michigan in 2017. He would fly through three levels in 2018; slashing .259/.346/.370 in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League before earning a promotion to Erie where his success would continue. After a .837 OPS in Erie across 53 games, he would spend the final 15 in Toledo; a level in which he would repeat in 2019.
Last season was cruel to Cameron; who would hit just .214 and despite 62 walks over 120 games, would also strike out 152 times. Defensively, Cameron was steady although he would ultimately move to right field toward the end of the season in exchange for fellow speedsters Jake Robson and Danny Woodrow.
In an article published by Matt Schoch of the Detroit News early last year, then-manager Doug Mientkiewicz had some odd remarks regarding Cameron and his development:
"“I wouldn’t say he’s coming around. He’s still striking out a ton. Daz is another one of those guys who is very talented, but there are a lot of talented guys who are valet parking cars. You know, and I’m not saying that in a negative way. It’s not his fault.”"
Mientkiewicz said he was not being negative, but for a player who was already pressing while playing a game notorious for teaching players to deal consistently with failure anyway and has finally found a bit of success, the undertone did sound negative at the time and still does. In a way, his comments would ultimately ring true, but there is certainly a better way of communicating the same point.
Looking toward 2020, there is a glaring oddity thus far in Summer Camp at Comerica Park: Daz Cameron has not been present. GM Al Avila has acknowledged they have had players test positive for COVID-19, however, due to league policy, it is up to the players to disclose the details of their absence until July 20th. Other players who have not been present include Tarik Skubal, Isaac Paredes, Sergio Alcantara, and Daniel Norris, with Norris being the only one who has confirmed his case publicly as of Sunday.
Assuming Cameron’s health, he would figure to start in Toledo in order to continue with his development. The Tigers figure to carry five outfielders on the MLB roster: JaCoby Jones, Cameron Maybin, Christin Stewart, Travis Demeritte, and Victor Reyes; with Brandon and Dixon and Harold Castro also having the ability to play in the outfield as needed. Considering their depth and Cameron’s need for regular playing time, do not bet on Daz Cameron making his debut this season unless it was a late-season call-up situation; with the right-field job glaringly open in 2021.