Should Tony Campana Get More Playing Time?
By Thomas Lynch
Jun 18, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Tony Campana (19) hits an RBI single to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Speed. They say it kills. They also made two movies based on it although the first one was infinitely better than the second. It also makes a great weapon in the game of baseball if deployed properly. The Arizona Diamondbacks have Tony Campana who is one of, if not the fastest, man in the game. The problem is, he is not enough of a threat with the bat in 2014 to get on base consistently.
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Campana can be exciting to watch. He got the game winning hit in last night’s 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Once I saw Rickie Weeks dive on the infield, whether he came up with the ball or not, I knew the game was over. No way was he going to get Campana out at first. That is the value of speed. Every time even a routine ball is hit on the ground, infielders have to press knowing that Campana has the capability to beat the throw. Unfortunately, at least in 2014, it hasn’t been enough. However, a quick look at his Major League stats reveal numbers that indicate, if given regular playing time, he can be a solid contributor. In his limited D’back stint last year, he batted .261 with a .370 on-base percentage. In 2012, the most amount of playing time he has received during his career, he batted .264 with a .307 on-base percentage. Do you want to know who had similar numbers during the course of his career? Vince Coleman. He stole 107 bases one year with lines of .232 and .307, respectively. Now, I realize this isn’t 1987 and baseball has changed a great deal. I also recognize there is a bit of a logjam in the Arizona outfield and that Campana’s offense this year is anemic to say the least. However, I do believe there can be a greater role for him other than being a fifth man in someone’s outfield, if not in Arizona.
The next time a major move in the Snakes’ outfield is made, I would like to see Campana get elevated to a fourth outfielder’s spot. Mark Trumbo‘s return in July will set off a whole set of dominoes that will probably result in a return to Triple A for him. This offseason will be a pivotal one for the 28-year old Campana as his career in Phoenix will be at a crossroads. Is a part of their future or will he have to go to a different organization to get more playing time?