Luis Campusano, C, SD

Chasing catcher prospects in the fantasy baseball world is often like a prospector’s eyes lighting up when sighting fool’s gold. It looks like the real thing, but it leaves you disappointed in the end. So when examining the stats of a catcher prospect, be careful…

What makes Luis Campusano worthy of our attention? Let’s meet him and find out.

Video courtesy of FanGraphs
  • Born: September 29, 1998
  • B/T: Right
  • 5’10”, 215-lbs
  • Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 2nd round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft from Cross Creek HS, GA

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Looking at the above, we see his OBP has always been good, and reaching High-A Lake Elsinore (A+ above) it really took off into excellent territory. In other words, he has been improving his ability to get on base as he has advanced to higher levels. You can really see that in the BB and SOcolumns. In 2019 he almost had as many walks as he had strikeouts. When a young batter does this, at age 20, no less, it is worth noticing. One of the key indicators of future big league success is the ability to distinguish balls from strikes.

Another indicator is a batter’s power, shown above in the ISO (Isolated power, just SLG – BA). As shown by the color coding, Campusano has been below average until he reached Lake Elsinore. While you like to see an ISO of 200+, a 184 at age 20 is pretty good. Young batters are often still growing into their power.

SB/Gm is clearly showing not to expect any stolen bases from Luis. Moving on.

K% and BB% are the key indicators. If a batter doesn’t strike out too much, and if he draws plenty of walks, he will have success as long as he has some power.

Hard% measures how many times when he hits the ball, he hits it hard. He hits the ball at a hard rate. He is by no means a weak hitter.

Does Campusano have a righty/lefty split that would concern us? No. In 2017 at Rookie-ball level he didn’t hit lefties well, but in only 29 plate appearances that’s too small a sample to worry us. And in 2018 and 2019 he showed no appreciable splits.

For his home runs he pulls the ball a bit, but not exclusively, and his doubles are to all parts of his parks, and doubles eventually translate into home runs as his power develops.

Finally, his OPS trend is encouraging. Part of it is his home park and league from year to year, of course, but it’s always good to see a batter growing his OPS from year to year, and especially in-season. For a catcher, who has much more on his mind than his batting, to improve over the course of the summer is impressive. It would be easy to let a hot summer behind the plate get you run down!

The Scouts

Warnings

Well, he is only now 21 years of age, so there’s youth risk, and especially as a catcher there is risk that he might be good . . . five years from now, after he gets major league catching skills worked out well.

He has also not yet reached Double-A ball, and that is the key level to tell if a player is for real or not. 2020 (whenever we get it going) will be a key indicator of future success. If his OPS trend continues strong, you won’t need me to tell you to get Campusano shares on your dynasty teams — every tout will be yelling it from the rooftops.

Conclusion

Lack of AA play notwithstanding, I believe in Campusano. Scouts believe in him. The numbers believe in him. So should you.

Some great tweets from Alec J Dopp, prospect writer for BaseballHQ and Baseball Prospectus:

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