TAMPA, Fla. -- Johan Camargo began drawing attention at Braves camp two years ago, effortlessly fielding ground balls while working alongside Andrelton Simmons before some Spring Training games. But the slick-fielding shortstop truly became somebody to watch when he arrived this year with a much stronger physique.Previously considered a defensive
TAMPA, Fla. -- Johan Camargo began drawing attention at Braves camp two years ago, effortlessly fielding ground balls while working alongside Andrelton Simmons before some Spring Training games. But the slick-fielding shortstop truly became somebody to watch when he arrived this year with a much stronger physique.
Previously considered a defensive wizard with offensive limitations, Camargo has added 15 pounds to the 180-pound frame he carried into last year and now seems to have the potential to produce at the plate. The 23-year-old switch-hitter displayed some of his additional strength Wednesday night, hitting a three-run home run to center field during the seventh inning of an 8-7 loss to the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"How many balls has he just walked up there and popped lately?" Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's been fun to watch, the whole game. His whole game is better. He's just so much bigger and stronger and more mature, I think both mentally and physically, than he was a couple years ago. He's just a very impressive young man."
Camargo's no-doubt shot came from the left side of the plate at the expense of Yankees right-hander J.P. Feyereisen. Camargo has three hits, including a homer and a triple, through nine Grapefruit League at-bats.
While playing for Class A Advanced Carolina in 2015, Camargo slashed .258/.315/.335 and hit just one homer. He homered four times last year, slashing .267/.304/.379 for Double-A Mississippi.
"That's what happens when they get bigger and stronger," Snitker said. "We keep running them out there to play, and they get better."
Camargo started at third base Wednesday and likely will see time at a variety of positions during Spring Training. The added versatility may prove beneficial as he attempts to make his way toward the Majors for an organization with Dansby Swanson at shortstop.
Odds and ends
• Matt Wisler surrendered four straight hits, including two doubles, in his Grapefruit League season debut on Wednesday. He retired just two of the seven batters faced in the third inning, but he worked a perfect fourth to conclude his outing.
• Top pitching prospect Sean Newcomb's Spring Training struggles extended as he allowed six straight one-out hits, including two doubles, in the sixth inning during his first appearance of the year. Newcomb has now allowed 12 runs over 4 1/3 career innings of spring ball.
• Adam Walker, who was claimed off waivers from the Orioles in January, displayed his impressive raw power when he stuck his bat across the plate and hit an opposite-field homer off Travis Hissong. Walker's high strikeout rates have plagued him throughout his Minor League career.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.