Image credit: Junior Caminero is finishing off a spectacular 2023 season. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Junior Caminero had just finished a truly remarkable season.
The 20-year-old had hit 31 home runs while striking out in less than 20% of his plate appearances in a year spent primarily at Double-A. He hit .324/.384/.591 this season, the kind of production that made him one of the breakout stars of the 2023 season.
Caminero has been even better recently. Since Aug. 1, Caminero is hitting .336/.400/.685 with a 13% strikeout rate and 15 home runs in 37 games.
But apparently, his season is not over. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first to report that the Rays are promoting Caminero to the major leagues.
The Rays soon made it official.
The Montgomery Biscuits were eliminated from the Southern League playoffs on Thursday, but after the game, the team found out its star was headed to Tampa Bay.
When he arrives, Caminero will become the youngest player in the majors leagues. He just turned 20 in July. He currently ranks fifth on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect rankings.
Caminero has plus-plus power. He posted a 110-mph 90th percentile exit velocity that was best in the minors among batting qualifiers. He has excellent bat speed and has shown a steadily improving batting eye. His bat speed is valuable on a home run like this 472-foot shot that cleared a scoreboard in left center field.
Tape-measure shots are a part of his normal month.
But it’s even more valuable on this ball that just cleared the fence in right field. Caminero didn’t come close to getting all of this pitch. He was jammed. He fought it off. But he’s strong enough that the outfielder ended up with slumped shoulders looking at a ball that was just out of reach.
This helps explain Caminero’s massive power production. It’s true all-fields power that can clear any fence in any part of the park. Caminero had eight home runs to left, four to left center, seven to center field, eight to right center and eight to right field. His power to the opposite field is a key part of his game.
Caminero is the rare prospect who could one day flirt with a .300 or better batting average while challenging for a home run title. He has power and rapidly improving hitting ability. Defensively, he’s still getting comfortable at third base. He has a tendency to commit errors in bunches. He booted two balls and threw another away in a late August game and committed two more in an early September game.
But his power is impressive, he’s shown he can hit and he is only 20-years-old. It’s why he’s one of the best prospects in baseball.
Caminero will likely be eligible for the postseason as well. Beginning in 2014, MLB liberalized the rules for playoff roster eligibility. Now the rule states:
“A player . . . can still be added to a team’s roster in the postseason via petition to the commissioner’s office if the player was in the organization on Aug. 31 and is replacing someone who is on the injured list and has served the minimum amount of time required for activation.”