Miami Marlins: What’s Eric Campbell Up To?

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Eric Campbell #35 of the Miami Marlins poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 22, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Eric Campbell #35 of the Miami Marlins poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 22, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

On February 17th, the Miami Marlins signed veteran first baseman Eric Campbell to a minor league deal. Campbell is now hitting .337 in 58 games at triple-A.

Eric Campbell was drafted by the New York Mets in the eighth round back in 2008, 254th overall off the board out of Boston College. In three NCAA seasons, he appeared in 159 games, slashing .306/.391/.448 with 11 round-trippers and 114 RBI. Read about some of Miami’s new prospects here.

Eric Campbell’s Professional Pre-Miami Marlins Career

Campbell, a Norwich, Connecticut native, is a 6’3″, 225 lb. first baseman, but he was initially drafted as a third baseman. He’s also played both corner outfield spots and has had a little spot duty at shortstop and at second base over his career. He made his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones after his selection, and slashed .260/.359/.358 in 66 NYPL contests.

Campbell graduated to the mid-A level Savannah Sand Gnats in 2009, in the SAL. Between his 95 games there and seven with the high-A St. Lucie Mets, he slashed .249/.352/.360 playing mostly first base. 2010 would see him pretty much evenly split his time between St. Lucie (46 games) and the double-A Binghampton Mets (50 games). Despite the higher level of competition, he improved his slashline to .306/.369/.467 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI.

In 2011, Campbell appeared in 126 games for Binghampton, and slashed .247/.345/.343 playing both corner infield spots. He spent the entire season there, and all of 2012 as well. In 115 games in 2012, he hit .297/.391/.439.

Two and a half seasons at double-A was enough for the Mets, and they sent him to play 2013 with the Las Vegas 51s. In 120 games, he slashed .314/.435/.475, with more walks (66) than strikeouts (60). In 2014, he was on his way to personal bests with a 33 games slashline of .355/.442/.525 when the Mets called him up to the majors.

At the age of 27, Campbell was not considered a “can’t miss” prospect. Still, he didn’t embarrass himself. He slashed .263/.322/.358 in 85 major league games, with three home runs and 16 RBI. He played mostly left field for the Mets, although he appeared everywhere else except right up the middle. That is, no CF, P, or C.

At triple-A again in 2015, Campbell again proved he was ready for the next level, slashing .363/.493/.593 in 33 games with the 51s. In several callups to the Mets, he slashed just .197/.312/.295. 2016 was more of the same. With the 51s, he was great, at .301/.390/.447 in 83 games. With the Mets, he fell below the Mendoza line, at .173/.287/.227 in 40 games.

Campbell joined the Hanshin Tigers in 2017, and hit just .191/.296/.298 in 21 contests before packing it in. This February, the Miami Marlins took out a flyer on him.

Campbell as a New Orleans Baby Cake

Campbell has proved time and again that he can hit triple-A pitching. He owns a career .325/.429/.485 slashline at the level. In 58 games with the Cakes, he’s again owning the pitching just slightly below major league level, with a .337/.432/.470 slashline. The problem is that when he gets called up, historically he can’t translate his success to the major league level. His .337 average and 34 walks rank as 10th in the PCL, he’s fourth in the circuit with his .432 OBP, and he’s seventh with 46 RBI. Should the Miami Marlins give him a roster spot?

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Campbell is not currently on the Miami Marlins 40-man roster. He hasn’t showed the ability to bring his plate success to the top level, but could he be a late bloomer? What’s setting, say, Yadiel Rivera or JB Shuck apart from him? Keep in mind that the Marlins are also about to call up Garrett Cooper from his rehab assignment.

The Baby Cakes also have outfielders Austin Dean, Isaac Galloway, Braxton Lee, and Magneuris Sierra, as well as infielders Peter Mooney and Scott Van Slyke. All could be said to deserve at least a look with the Marlins. It’s just a matter of roster spots.

So what’s going to happen? I’m not a crystal ball, but I’d like to see Campbell hold down a spot on the 40-man so he can at least make an attempt in September when the rosters expand.

Next: Marlins Sign Eight, Lose to Giants

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