The Tampa Bay Rays are calling up top infield prospect Junior Caminero, according to multiple reports Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Caminero, 20, will skip Triple A and join the majors after appearing in 81 games at Double A, where he hit .309/.373/.548 with 20 home runs.
- He started the 2023 season in High A but was promoted after slashing .356/.409/.685 in 36 games.
- The Athletic’s Keith Law listed Caminero as the No. 5 prospect in baseball in his midseason rankings. Earlier this week, Law named him as runner-up for The Athletic’s MLB prospect of the year.
- The Rays improved to 94-60 Thursday and sit 1 1/2 games behind the Balitmore Orioles in the American League East. Tampa Bay hosts the Toronto Blue Jays in a pivotal three-game series starting Friday.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Caminero’s unlikely call-up
Despite being just 20 years old with only 351 plate appearances at Double A, despite being promoted to an always-crowded roster, despite being right-handed on a team with ten other right-handed-capable bats, despite playing three times as many games at third than short … Caminero, one of the hottest names in minor-league baseball, is a major leaguer.
The Rays will find some use, and we will get to see what this young man can do in the bigs. — Sarris
Caminero’s case for prospect of the year
Tough break for Caminero, going .324/.384/.591 in his age-19 season with 31 homers (no other teenager had more than 24 this year) and still ending up playing second fiddle on this list to Jackson Holliday. Acquired in a trade with Cleveland that I will never, ever stop mentioning because Tampa’s scouts did such a great job, Caminero actually showed much better in his 81 games with Double-A Montgomery than his 36 games with High-A Bowling Green, boosting his walk rate from 6.3 percent to 9.1 percent while cutting his strikeout rate from 25.2 percent to 17.1 percent.
Caminero can really hit, obviously, and he’s quite capable at third base, even playing a few dozen games at short this year. He’s more physically mature than Holliday or the other top teenager in the minors, Milwaukee’s Jackson Chourio, who started slow and went on a huge tear out of the All-Star break, but still has a lot of physical development to come. — Law
(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)