Swing Changes Elevate Daz Cameron's Stock
Righthander Franklin Perez may have been the headlining prospect acquired by the Tigers in the Justin Verlander trade with the Astros, but Detroit is equally excited with center fielder Daz Cameron from the deal. The Tigers and Astros executed their trade mere minutes before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline. Without Verlander, the Astros might not have won the World Series. Without Perez and Cameron, the Tigers' rebuild would still be in slow gear.
The 21-year-old Cameron made significant progress in the second half of 2017 in the low Class A Midwest League. He made a mechanical change to his swing and has the team salivating over his future potential.
"I’m extremely impressed with this young man,” vice president of player development Dave Littlefield said. "He’s been very well-raised. He’s intelligent, he handles himself like a pro and he’s got a nice way about him. He’s confident but just in a real positive way.”
Cameron hit .271/.351/.463 with 14 home runs and 32 stolen bases in 123 games, while ranking fourth in the MWL with 51 extra-base hits. The swing changes he began making last offseason eventually took hold around midseason, resulting in a strong second half.
Cameron focused on hitting the ball in the air more, and his swing changes fall in line with the launch angle phenomenon that has swept baseball. He had evident offensive and defensive upside as a Georgia high schooler in 2015, because the Astros selected him in the supplemental first round and signed him for $4 million.
"He looks like he’s going to be a good major league player in all facets down the road," Littlefield said. "I really like what I’m seeing from him.”
It doesn’t hurt that Cameron has a major league pedigree: His dad Mike Cameron played 17 seasons with eight teams, hitting 278 home runs and stealing 297 bases.
The Tigers can only dream on the younger Cameron having that kind of career. But based on the kind of progress he made last season, he’s at least giving them the opportunity to dream.
Daz Cameron Focuses On Improvement
The 23-year-old outfielder used the advice of a future Hall of Famer to help with his development this winter.
"He needs to keep doing what he’s been doing,” Littlefield said. "I think he’ll get better (because of his) work ethic and maturity. He’s got a lot of ability.”