ATLANTA -- Johan Camargo has toiled in the Braves' system over the past few years, and he has led some to believe he was the organization's best defensive infielder, especially in the post-Andrelton Simmons era.But as he has physically and mentally matured over the past year, the energetic infielder has
ATLANTA -- Johan Camargo has toiled in the Braves' system over the past few years, and he has led some to believe he was the organization's best defensive infielder, especially in the post-Andrelton Simmons era.
But as he has physically and mentally matured over the past year, the energetic infielder has enhanced his value and positioned himself to take advantage of an opportunity that was enriched Tuesday night, when he came within a few feet of hitting for the cycle in a 6-3 loss to the Giants at SunTrust Park.
"He's in the middle of something all of the time, whether it's making plays or using his bat," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's been very aggressive running the bases. He's taking advantage of an opportunity."
In his second consecutive start at third base, and his fourth within a span of five games, Camargo delivered an RBI triple in the second inning. He also singled in the fifth and was generously awarded a double that bounced in front of right fielder Hunter Pence in the seventh inning. His bid for the cycle ended with a weak ninth-inning grounder that came one pitch after his home run bid sliced outside the right-field foul pole.
Camargo has recorded four consecutive multihit games and compiled a .400 (14-for-35) batting average in the nine games he has started this season. The 23-year-old native of Panama may endure some growing pains, but he has made significant offensive strides since compiling a .683 OPS for Double-A Mississippi in 2015.
"You get those kids, where the more they play, the better they get," Snitker said. "You see them a lot of times [in the Minors], and they're not physically mature yet or mentally mature yet. Then when the process cultivates, you end up with a pretty good player."
When Adonis Garcia was placed on the disabled list earlier this month, it appeared Rio Ruiz might get a majority of the starts at third base. But Camargo has essentially forced the Braves to keep him in the lineup on a daily basis and at least contemplate sending Ruiz back to Triple-A Gwinnett where he could play daily.
"I'm very grateful for this opportunity, but for me it's about continuing to work," Camargo said. "Once I cross the white line on that field, it's a different animal. My passion kind of takes over, and I'm really not trying to think out there."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.