Name: Dan Camarena
Draft: 20th round of the 2011 draft out of San Diego, CA
Size: 6-foot-0, 200-pounds
Fastball: 89-92 mph
Other Pitches: Curve, Change, Slider
BBDP Rank: 27
Dan Camarena can be basically be summed up as a pitcher in two words. Advanced pitchability. He’s one of the rare prospects who has such plus secondary offerings that he can still be a legitimate prospect with average velocity at best. He may not light of the radar gun but he has pinpoint control of all three of his pitches, with excellent complementary offerings to the fastball.
Statistically, Camarena’s numbers are deceiving. As a 19 year old he had some nagging injuries and only ended up throwing 17.2 GCL innings. He did dominate there though with 15 K and a 1.02 ERA.
As a 20 year old, he skipped Staten Island and went straight to the full season leagues. That in and of itself is impressive given the players he competed with for that spot and his young age. He got off to a horrific start when he made it there. After five bludgeonings, however, he turned things around. From that point on he had a 3.34 ERA.
He finished the season with a 4.42 ERA in 112.0 innings, with 82 K and just 19 walks (1.5 BB/9). The fact that he finished with those numbers after his insanely bad start is impressive. If he can hit the ground running in High-A Tampa in 2014, he’s gonna be a guy who makes a lot of noise.
As mentioned above, Camarena does not boast a fastball in the mid 90’s. What he does do, however, is get good deception on his fastball with pinpoint location. Those qualities, coupled with the ability to throw any pitch in any count make his fastball play up in a big way. If he is ever able to gain a few ticks on the fastball he will be nearly impossible to hit.
The secondary stuff is what makes him as a pitcher. His curve is 12 to 6 and it has good break. He can locate it anywhere in any count.
The change is also a force to be reckoned with. Again he can locate it anywhere in any count. He gets good fade and depth on it. The slider is a work in progress and he just recently added it. If he can fine tune that pitch he will have yet another tool to keep batters off balance.
Camarena’s ceiling right now is a mid to late rotation starter. If he elevates his velo a few ticks that ceiling becomes much more immense, approaching second starter levels. At his size, however, it would not be reasonable to expect such a jump in velocity. The floor is a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. The likelihood that he will reach his ceiling is fairly high for a guy at his age and level. His pinpoint control will carry him close to whatever ceiling his stuff allows him.
Camarena will start 2014 at High-A Tampa. If he starts 2014 where he left off at the end of 2013 then look for him to make High-A hitters look like chumps. He could be in Double-A by midseason if all goes as well as hoped. His estimated time of arrival to the MLB is 2016. He’ll always be a fun guy to watch because he throws nothing but strikes.