Detroit Tigers top 30 prospects for 2023: No. 10 Roberto Campos
Our top 10 Detroit Tigers prospects starts with OF Roberto Campos
It's finally time to reveal our top 10 Detroit Tigers prospects for the 2023 season. It all starts with outfielder Roberto Campos.
Campos was a big international signing back in 2019 that caught everyone by surprise. Up until then, the Detroit Tigers hardly ever spent big on an international prospect, but they decided to break that mold with Campos by giving him $2.85 million, which was the largest sigining bonus the Tigers had ever given to an international signee at the time.
After he signed, he just kind of disappeared for a while. There was no mention of him at all. The 2020 COVID season didn't help matters. Then in 2021, he hit a home run in his first professional at-bat in rookie ball.
At just 19 years of age, Campos is still very young and very raw as a prospect. The Tigers would be smart to simply take their time in developing this kid. He's got some qualities to like, but he's still got a long way to go overall.
He's done okay so far as a pro. In 2021, he slashed .228/.316/.441 with eight home runs and an 11% walk rate in rookie ball. The power came as advertised, but so did the strikeouts. He struck out 26.5% of the time. But with that walk rate, you could probably live with the Ks.
The Tigers had him work on his swing during the ensuing offseason in an effort to cut down on the strikeouts, and to an extent it worked. He lowered his K-rate by almost 5% in 2022 at Low-A Lakeland. The problem is, the power came down significantly, though he did hit an opposite field blast in spring training last season.
He hit just five home runs in 448 plate appearances. He had a groundball rate of over 50% and his flyball rate plummeted. The good news is he still hit the ball hard fairly consistently, as it sounds like his exit velocities were pretty solid. Overall, Campos slashed .258/.326/.385 with a 103 wRC+ in 2022.
Defensively, Campos projects to be a corner outfielder, likely sticking in right field due to his strong arm. He's also a bit faster than originally thought, which is nice.
If Ryan Garko and company can get him to lift the ball more while keeping the strikeouts down and keep the exit velocities up, Campos could end up being the player everyone hoped he would be when the Tigers signed him. He's a pretty big kid at 6-2, 200, and clearly has a ton of raw power. It just hasn't shown up in games yet.
Part of me thinks the Tigers will jump him up to High-A to start the season, but I think they'll ultimately keep him in Lakeland to start. If he mashes down there, he'll be promoted quickly. Remember, he's still just 19, so the Tigers are going to be patient with him. Both MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs give him an MLB ETA of 2025, which is certainly possible, but I think 2026 may be more likely at the moment. Either way, it's hard not to love this kid's upside.