Astros officially sign comp pick Cameron
HOUSTON -- Mike Cameron first took his son, Daz, on the field when he was two years old. His dad was then with the Cincinnati Reds, so Daz Cameron would often flock to Barry Larkin and then cry when his mother, JaBreka, came to get him before the game began.
In Seattle, Daz Cameron had a locker just like his dad -- like all the players' children. The kids would go on the field hours before the game to play. Afterward, every child would go to play his or her Little League game, but Daz insisted on watching the Mariners.
On Tuesday, the scenario was flipped. Father watched son take his first big league batting practice inside Minute Maid Park, then watched him participate in his first press conference as a professional baseball player, fielding questions alongside agent Scott Boras, Astros director of scouting Mike Elias and signing scout Gavin Dickey as the Astros introduced Daz Cameron, their 37th overall Draft pick.
Houston, which had already agreed to terms with first-rounders Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, reached a deal with Daz Cameron that will pay him $4 million, according to MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis. The Astros have not confirmed the value of the bonus.
"I'm happy for him," Mike Cameron said. "I'm kind of relieved to be honest with you because it worried the heck out of me every day about it. Now, he gets the chance to experience it, all the things that I talked about for so long and all the things that I tried to instill in him, now they will come into play starting tomorrow or starting on Thursday."
Daz Cameron signed for significantly more than the recommended slot bonus ($1,668,600). Cameron is a right-handed-hitting outfielder from Eagle's Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga.
Bregman (No. 4), Cameron (No. 6) and Tucker (No. 7) all carried elite rankings in MLB.com's list of the top 50 eligible prospects prior to the MLB Draft. The Astros have agreed to terms with each of their draftees in the top 10 rounds except for second-round selection Thomas Eshelman.
Elias said Cameron -- a five-tool outfielder who some projected could have gone in the Top 10 of the Draft -- will be assigned to the Gulf Coast League.
"He checks a lot of boxes for us, not only in terms of his skills, but in terms of his makeup," Elias said. "He was raised the right way, he plays the game the right way, plays the game hard."
The Astros began scouting Cameron in 10th grade and saw more than 100 of his at-bats, vaulting him up their Draft boards.
Now with Cameron scheduled to make his professional debut later this week, Mike reflected on the attitudes both he and past teammates imparted to his son, hoping Daz would carry a few over into this new stage in his career.
"Probably the biggest thing for him is to understand failure. He hasn't really had it yet. The routine, the baseball routine, I don't think he should have a problem, it's just about him being engaged," Mike Cameron said. "Him being highly touted adds a little bit of pressure then to have my name attached to it."
In his last Major League season, Mike Cameron took Daz on a road trip. He got to live the life of a Major Leaguer for at least a few days, going from hotel to hotel and ballpark to ballpark, needing the same energy and work ethic each day.
Reflecting back now, the trip more readied Daz for his new life.
"Me and my dad chopped it up," Daz laughed. "Learned how to hit. He took me to the outfield, taught me many things I know today. It was fun, exciting and a great experience for me. See how the players go about their business and have a plan every day."