MESA, Ariz. -- Before a 17-year big league career that includes an All-Star Game appearance and three Gold Gloves, Mike Cameron's first real taste of success came in high Class A in 1994. He was supposed to build on that momentum in the Arizona Fall League that offseason, but he
MESA, Ariz. -- Before a 17-year big league career that includes an All-Star Game appearance and three Gold Gloves, Mike Cameron's first real taste of success came in high Class A in 1994. He was supposed to build on that momentum in the Arizona Fall League that offseason, but he got bumped by another White Sox outfielder: Michael Jordan.
While Cameron never got to play in the AFL, his son Daz is getting that opportunity with the Mesa Solar Sox. He had his best Fall League game yet Saturday night, going 3-for-4 with three runs, a double, a walk and a stolen base in a 11-8 defeat of the Glendale Desert Dogs. After going hitless in his previous two games, Cameron is now batting .296/.367/.370 with two steals in seven contests.
"I'm trying to stay aggressive but not too aggressive, stay in the median," said Cameron, who has three walks and nine strikeouts in 30 plate appearances. "Just work the count, have a good AB and square the ball up."
As a high school sophomore, Cameron emerged as an early candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2015 Draft. Though he leveled off a bit over the next two seasons, he still commanded a well over-slot $4 million bonus from the Astros as a supplemental first-round pick (37th overall). While his pro career started slowly and he missed much of 2016 after breaking his left index finger, he has progressed steadily during the past two seasons.
Cameron projects as an average hitter with possibly power to match, capable of playing a quality center field with solid speed and arm strength. Houston sent him to the Tigers as part of the Justin Verlander trade last August, and Cameron advanced from high Class A to Triple-A in his first season with his new organization.
Cameron said his father has been an invaluable resource, helping him learn to deal with the mental part of the game. The two talk nearly every day, and Daz said Mike will come out to watch him play in the AFL in the near future.
"Whenever I need anything, even advice, he's there to help me," Cameron said. "He's a student of the game and when you have someone who's a resource like that, it's a big help."
Cubs first-round pick (24th overall) Nico Hoerner, one of the 2018 draftees in the Fall League, also had a big night for the Solar Sox. He tripled in two runs in the first inning and smashed a solo homer in the sixth, improving his AFL line to .286/.297/.429. Jahmai Jones (Angels) also had two hits and three RBIs for Mesa.
After the Solar Sox plated four runs in the bottom of the first, the Desert Dogs responded with five runs in the second to take the lead. Yu Chang (Indians) sparked the rally with an RBI double, one of his three hits. Ryan McKenna (Orioles) tripled in the second and ninth innings, scoring and driving in a run each time.
The victory pulled Mesa into a first-place tie in the East Division with the Scottsdale Scorpions at 6-4. Glendale, which lost its first eight games before a 1-0 win on Friday, dropped to 1-9 to match the 2007 Scorpions for the worst 10-game start in Fall League history.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.