Detroit Tigers: Could Al Avila have one last gift for the future?

Tigers prospects Roberto Campos, left, and Eric De La Rosa take a break during spring training Minor League minicamp Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 at Tiger Town in Lakeland, Florida.
Tigers prospects Roberto Campos, left, and Eric De La Rosa take a break during spring training Minor League minicamp Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 at Tiger Town in Lakeland, Florida. /

Al Avila might have left a parting gift for the Detroit Tigers’ future roster.

The Detroit Tigers have entered a new era after the firing of Al Avila. There wasn’t a whole lot of excitement about some of Avila’s moves. While he was running things, the organization made an international signing back in 2019, which could prove to benefit the team’s future.

As the Detroit Tigers continue moving through the future, Avila’s signing of Roberto Campos might prove to benefit the direction this team moves in. It might just be one of those moves that wind up being a big deal down the line.

The big thing to remember with Campos is that he is just 19 years old. He’s still just a kid and is someone who’s working toward the big leagues with high hopes. From the Tigers’ point of view, he is someone who has a lot to offer if he pans out.

Campos has time to get himself to the big leagues, and this road through the minors will allow him to develop and become the player the Tigers anticipated he would be. It might just be Avila leaving his mark on the organization.

Detroit Tigers outfielder Roberto Campos is a sound investment.

The Detroit Tigers signed Roberto Campos back in 2019 to the largest contract they had ever handed out to an international signee at the time. Since then, he has worked his way to a point where he can join the Tigers’ minor league affiliates.

He made his affiliate debut in 2021 with the Tigers Florida Complex League (FCL) squad, where he slashed .228/.316/.441 with eight home runs and 19 RBI. It was his first time playing in a Tigers uniform, getting acclimated to professional baseball at just 18 years old.

Now, in 2022, he was promoted to the Single-A Lakeland Flying Tigers roster, where he spent the summer. He has played in 110 games, accumulating 439 plate appearances. He has produced a .261/.330/.391 slash line with 26 doubles, five triples, five home runs, and 50 RBI.

The long game is what is exciting here. He’s an investment piece with a lot to like as he continues to develop. He’s 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 200-pounds. It may take time for Campos to reach the big leagues, but he has projectability.

He starts slightly open with high-set hands. He sinks into his load with a leg lift and barrel wrap. He’s got the strength, and Campos is only going to keep adding strength as he matures and continues to add strength.

Campos has continued to refine his control of the barrel and get his swing even more connected from top to bottom. The hips rotate through with the hands staying connected and getting through the zone.

He’s been able to impact the ball well and lift it. He’s able to work the opposite field as well, adjusting to pitches and getting the job done. Campos has a ton of upside for his performance in the batters’ box; the question is how he will develop.

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The future seems very bright with a lot to like in Campos’s tools. Even at 19 years old, he will keep improving. The Tigers should view Campos as a gift from Avila. It may take time for Campos to keep rising through the ranks towards the big leagues, but the projectability is still there.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. to fix an error with Roberto Campos’ signing date. Campos was signed in 2019, not 2016.