Eric Campbell wasn’t drafted in the first round like Ike Davis, Reese Havens, or Brad Holt. His name was called during the eighth round.
So the 21-year-old Campbell, who hit .306 with Boston College this spring, seemed slated to be a back-up to third baseman Zach Lutz and first baseman Davis.
But both starters have battled injuries, allowing the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Campbell to play more than expected.
And he’s making the most of it — though there have been plenty of downs for all the ups.
Last week, the Cyclones won a game 5–4 from the Vermont Lake Monsters, but for Campbell, it was his worst night as a pro. With his mother and father watching, he committed two errors at third base and went hitless in five at-bats, leaving five runners on base.
But he bounced back — slowly! — during the Cyclones’ four games against the Staten Island Yankees last week.
He made an error in the first game (after making a great diving stop) and did little with the bat until the ninth inning, when he hit a double.
The next night, Campbell wasn’t in the line-up. Too energetic to want to sit, he volunteered to coach first base.
“Mostly I just collected batting gloves,” Campbell explained. “But I did study their pitchers’ deliveries and moves.”
It must have paid off: The next night, Campbell came up in the ninth of a 2–2 tie and hammered a 1-0 pitch high over the left field wall to give Brooklyn a 3–2 lead.
In the series finale, which the Cyclones lost 9-4, Campbell struck out three times, but did hit a double in the fifth.
Campbell ended the series with a season average of .280, two homers, and 15 RBI, second on the club — and the admiration of his skipper.
“He has some power, and he plays smart,” said manager Edgar Alfonzo.
This kid has a real shot.