No. 10 prospect Campos shows off power

April 4th, 2022

thought he had missed his opportunity to make another good first impression. The Tigers’ No. 10 prospect had homered on his first pitch in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League last summer, and was hoping to show what he can do.

He was trudging back to the dugout, having hit a ball down the third-base line and thrown out by a step, when he realized it was a foul ball.

“I said, ‘Wow, I missed this chance, but I will have another one,’” Campos said through translator Carlos Guillen.

He got it on the next pitch, a fastball which Campos poked into the right-field party patio for a go-ahead two-run homer that provided the difference in the Tigers’ 4-2 win over the Blue Jays on Monday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Nine months after homering in his first professional at-bat in the United States, he did the same in his first Grapefruit League at-bat. In the process, he again demonstrated the much-chronicled power that can have an immediate impact.

Campos had sprinted to first base like he was expecting a double. He admitted later that he had his head down and didn’t know it was headed out. Once he realized he had homered, he slowed into his trot, but he could have floated around the bases from there.

“It is amazing,” he said. “You have no idea, not even myself. I have no words to describe this thing.”

Normally, a player in the lower levels like Campos wouldn’t get an opportunity to play in a big-league Spring Training game. But with Major League Spring Training delayed this year, the final games this week come as advanced Minor League players have already broken camp. Triple-A Toledo players left Friday and Saturday ahead of Mud Hens Opening Day on Tuesday, followed by Double-A Erie and High-A West Michigan players, whose seasons begin on Friday.

That left Single-A Lakeland and Florida Complex League players to fill the late innings once Major Leaguers had left the game. Monday’s lineup card featured Campos, No. 5 Tigers prospect Cristian Santana and No. 8 prospect Izaac Pacheco -- teenagers all -- as reserves.

“During practice [Sunday] I heard some rumors that I was going to be on the team for the game today,” Campos said. “But this morning when I was having breakfast with Cristian Santana and some of the guys, we found out officially that we were going to play, and we got so excited, a little bit nervous and anxious but in a positive way.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to be playing with the Major League guys? I’m going to be there? Let’s go. Let’s do it.’”

Said manager A.J. Hinch: “These kids are so excited to get to play. They never would have gotten the opportunity if it wasn’t for the way the spring is. So when they get in there, it’s fun to see them have success.”