Daz Cameron Is Driven To Succeed
Daz Cameron’s spring training began ominously. He twisted and turned in center field while a whipping wind played tricks on him in the Tigers’ first exhibition game against Southeastern University.
An inning or so later, the 22-year-old outfielder botched a fly ball.
But those early spring blunders seem so far away after Cameron turned in the most impressive performance by a Tigers youngster in big league camp.
"He’s a serious kid when it comes to wanting people to understand that he’s going to be a player," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He’s focused.”
Cameron, the son of Gold Glove center fielder Mike Cameron, is firmly on the cusp. He outperformed incumbent starting center fielder JaCoby Jones this spring, but given the Tigers’ rebuilding process, he will head to Triple-A Toledo to start the season.
Through 14 Grapefruit League games, Cameron hit .360 (9-for-25) with six extra-base hits, showing a tool kit that had some of the old timers in Tiger Town seeing a potential superstar.
Cameron, whom the Tigers acquired in the Justin Verlander trade with the Astros in 2017, made numerous standout plays in spring training, including an opposite-field home run against the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka. But more than anything, the Tigers have been impressed with Cameron’s baseball instincts.
"He watches the pitchers from the dugouts, stares at them, seeing what they’re doing,” Gardenhire said. "This guy, he’s got it going on. He’s going to be a really, really good player. He’s already good, but he’s going to be even better, in my opinion.”
While the scouting community sees an everyday player, they are split on Cameron's ceiling. The Tigers see—at the very least—their center fielder of the future.
"We didn’t get to see him last spring, so that’s the greatest thing about right now—it’s really nice to see him come up here and show us exactly what he’s got,” Gardenhire said. "The young man has a lot of talent, he really studies the game, he’s worked very, very hard and you can see some of the things he can do are pretty spectacular."