ATLANTA—With teams increasingly carrying at least 12-man pitching staffs, the need for versatility is at an all-time high at the major league level.
That reality is a major reason why the Braves added Johan Camargo to their 40-man roster in November. The Panama native spent most of his first five seasons of professional baseball at shortstop before proving last year at Double-A Mississippi he can also be an above-average defender at second and third base.
Camargo shifted to second base last season for the first time in his career and played the keystone for all but five games through the first three months. He then spent the next six weeks as the M-Braves’ third baseman before making his final 18 starts at shortstop.
“Johan showed the ability to play second base and third base as well as shortstop,” said Atlanta’s farm director Dave Trembley. “He’s a very solid defender who has gotten stronger (and) plays hard. He has a nice future ahead of him.”
Regardless of where he plays, Camargo has easy, fluid actions with soft hands, above-average arm strength and solid accuracy on his throws. The Braves believe the 23-year-old infielder can play any of the three positions at the major league level.
The primary question regarding Camargo’s potential centers on his bat. The switch-hitter employs a line-drive approach and makes consistent contact with his excellent hand-eye coordination. Despite possessing minimal power, he can drive the ball from gap to gap, as evidenced by his 26 doubles, six triples and four home runs last year.
“Johan has continued to improve in every facet of his game, which is a tribute to him as well as to our player development department,” general manager John Coppolella said. “We love the player, his skills, and the person, and hope he will play a meaningful role in this organization for a very long time.”
• The Braves acquired outfielder Alex Jackson and a player to be named from the Mariners for pitchers Max Povse and Rob Whalen. Jackson was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft out of a San Diego high school, but his star has fallen since then, as he’s a career .233 hitter as a pro..