Vicente Campos is a big (6’4’’) righty with good pedigree as he is related to both Kelvim and Alcides Escobar. So it’s very likely that Campos was a known entity well before his appropriate signing age, Campos’ professional career began in January 2009, when the Mariners signed him as a 16 international free-agent. Campos who is from La Guaira, Vargas, Venezuela began his career in his home country in 2009, and would stay in the Venezuelan Summer League (VESL) for two seasons.
Campos struggled greatly in his first season. He pitched 33 innings and had an ERA of 5.73, and a WHIP of 1.636. In Campos second year in the VESL, he posted a much improved of 3.16, and a much improved ERA of 1,193.
Campos’ stock would only continue to rise in the subsequent seasons, as he posted solid numbers in Northwest League (NORW) in 2011. In the NORW league Campos posted the following stats: an ERA of 2.32, a WHIP of .971, a FIP of 2.79, a K/9 of 9.41, and a BB/9 of 1.44.
His big state-side debut garnered him much national praise, and he was considered the best right-handed starter in the league, and one of the best prospects in the league—he was ranked as the third best prospect in the league by Baseball America.
At the end of the 2011 season he was regarded as a pitcher with a very promising future. He was a hard thrower who reach could 98 MPH, and generally threw 93-95 MPH; he had two good off-speed pitches that showed out-pitch potential, and he had the ability to pepper the strike-zone. All-in-all he looked a like a player with massive upside.
That’s why some were surprised to see him involved in Jesus Montero deal in the beginning of 2012. At the time of the trade, it almost seemed that everyone had good things to say about Campos. Below is an excerpt of what former Baseball Prospectus writer, and current Astro’s director of pro-scouting, had to say:
Campos had one of the best fastballs in the short-season leagues in 2011. It’s plus and more in terms of velocity, sitting in the low 90s with plenty of 95-96 readings every time out. Campos also throws the pitch with the kind of command usually found only in big-leaguers; he works both sides of the plate, paints the corners, and comes at hitters with a strong downward angle. He’s broad-shouldered and has a very smooth delivery.
Unfortunately for the Yankees the smoothness of his delivery didn’t prevent him from getting injured, and he dealt with two separate but related elbow injuries. The first elbow injury (a fractured elbow) came just 24 innings into his Yankees career. Not only did the injury cost him most of the 2012 season, it also affected him in 2013. The injury led to an innings limit, and forced Campos to make quite a few appearances from the pen.
His elbow issues with continue in 2014, where he initially missed some time with elbow inflammation before finally getting Tommy John Surgery in late April. He returned to the Yankees in June 2015, and for the most part struggled to put up the statistical season he was accustomed to.
In 44.2 innings in A+ he had an ERA of 7.05, a FIP of 3.97, a WHIP of 1.43 and a k/9 of 6.25. But the important thing is that he’s back, and showed the Yankees he’s still a prospect worthy of a roster spot. You almost expect a young pitcher to struggle post TJS; the important thing is that he showed that his stuff is still existent.
Campos’s future isn’t entirely clear; it’s hard to guess where he will begin the 2016 season, or even what role he will play.