TOLEDO, Ohio -- Daz Cameron is now a step away from Detroit. The athletic center fielder, the Tigers' eighth-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was promoted on Friday from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo, the 21-year-old's second bump up the organizational ladder this season.
The announcement was one of a series of moves up and down the system. Second baseman Kody Clemens and outfielder Brock Deatherage, Detroit's third- and 10th-round picks from this year's MLB Draft, were promoted from Class A West Michigan to Class A Advanced Lakeland. Outfielder Parker Meadows, Detroit's second-round Draft pick this summer and 7th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, was promoted from the Gulf Coast League to short-season Class A Connecticut.
The big move, however, was Cameron, whose promotion now puts him on the cusp of the big leagues and an outside chance at a September call-up if the Tigers decide to add him to the 40-man roster ahead of schedule. He'll get playing time filling an immediate opening in center field for Toledo, which is trying for its first International League postseason berth since 2007 but lost outfielders Mike Gerber and Michael Mahtook to Detroit in recent weeks, though Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield said the void played no factor in the decision.
"Prospect consideration has nothing to do with need," Littlefield said Friday.
Cameron, part of the Tigers' return in the Justin Verlander trade last August, entered Friday batting .272 with 21 doubles, eight triples, eight homers, 55 RBIs, 22 stolen bases and a .774 OPS in 111 games between Lakeland and Erie. He went on a hitting tear upon promotion to Erie in mid-June before leveling off over the past month. He has emerged as the potential center fielder of the future in Detroit, where JaCoby Jones has played outstanding defense and baserunning but struggled with strikeouts at the plate.
Cameron went 0-for-4 with three called strikeouts in his Triple-A debut Friday night against Rochester, but made an impact on defense with a running catch in left-center field to rob Twins prospect Nick Gordon of an extra-base hit. As Cameron ran down the ball, his new manager, Doug Mientkiewicz, couldn't help but think about his father, former Gold Glove center fielder Mike Cameron.
"When he ran after that ball in the gap, I said, 'That looked just like his dad,'" Mientkiewicz said. "I'm sure he's tired of hearing it, but Mike was one of the best center fielders of my generation. To watch him go get a ball like he did tonight, that looks just like him, same mannerisms, same everything."
Mientkiewicz expects Cameron will adjust at the plate as he sees more Triple-A pitching, at least getting an idea what he'll face next season, assuming he opens 2019 in Toledo.
"I played with his dad. If he's anything like his dad, he's got a bright future," Mientkiewicz. "All the reports I've gotten have been positive. I'm looking forward to watching him play."