Infielder Johan Camargo was just called up the The Show to replace Matt Kemp on the roster as he was placed on the 10-day DL to deal with a hamstring issue. Let’s take a look at the newest Atlanta Brave.
Johan Camargo, IF
OFR Prospect Rank: 35
2017 Opening Day Level: AAA Gwinnett
4 HR, 1 SB
Camargo was signed as an international amateur free agent out of Panama in 2012. Strong defense has been his calling card coming up through the minor leagues, but his bat has made him a marginal prospect at best. In 2016 he started at Mississippi as the second baseman after playing shortstop the previous four years in the organization. This was due to the presence of prospect Ozzie Albies at shortstop. Camargo handled the position switch gracefully, and formed a good rapport with Albies. When Dansby Swanson moved up to Mississippi in June and Albies switched to second base, Camargo was asked to move over to third. Again, Camargo handled the switch with aplomb. Finally, Swanson was recalled to Atlanta, and Camargo moved back to shortstop without issue. While doing all this positional switching, Camargo managed his most productive offensive season since breaking in with the Dominican Summer League back in 2012.
Baseball America rates Camargo’s arm as one of the best tools in the minors, and he can handle both the long throw from third and the play from deep in the hole at shortstop without difficulty. He isn’t as rangy as Albies or as sure-handed as Swanson, but has a nose for the ball and doesn’t give up on plays. He probably already would rate as a plus defender in the major leagues, and his versatility may help him stay in the majors. His playing time however will rely on his continued progress at the plate. A switch-hitter, Camargo has good bat control and can spray the ball to all fields, but has hit much better against left-handed pitchers (.753 OPS vs .668 against righties). Camargo registered career highs in both doubles (26) and home runs (4). While he’ll never be a bopper, the performance does raise the hopes that Camargo will develop reliable gap power. Camargo has limited speed, which limits his value on the basepaths, though he is an aggressive baserunner who is quick to take the extra base.
Camargo accumulated enough minor league service time to be eligible for the Rule V draft in December, so the Braves elected to add him to the 40-man roster rather than risk losing him. Camargo had a very good spring at the plate, hitting 250/.368/.500 with a homer, a double, and two triples in 14 games played before being optioned to AAA Gwinnett. Camargo came into camp noticeably bigger, apparently in an effort to help his burgeoning power. Camargo got off on the right foot in Gwinnett, hitting .300/.417/.700 in three games before getting hit in the hand with a pitch Saturday night, which kept him out of Sunday and Monday. Clearly he has recovered, and he will be a bench option for the Braves starting tonight. If he keeps up the good work, he may stick for awhile given the current sorry state of the Atlanta bench.