Player: Daz Cameron
DOB: January 15, 1997 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6'1", 190 lbs
School: Eagles Landing Christian Academy (Georgia)
College Commitment: Florida State
Daz Cameron is one of the best-known prospects in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft because of his bloodlines. His father, Mike Cameron, was a three-time Gold Glove winner and 2001 American League All-Star.
Fortunately, Cameron has shown the skills to stand on his own as a prospect. He told MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo last August that being able to be in a big league park as a kid with his dad helped him on this journey:
I remember going to the ballpark with my dad, him teaching me certain things about the game. It was great to be around that environment. It sort of matured me for the next level, like pro ball, so you can be ready. I'm glad I have enough information, because it's really important to me.
Cameron has been on the draft radar a long time, playing in the Under Armour All-America Game as a sophomore in 2013 and again as a junior in 2014. That gave scouts plenty of chances to evaluate him against the best competition in the country to see how he's developed in the spotlight.
The fact that Cameron never wavered from his status as one of the top prospects in this class, culminating in his selection on Monday, speaks volumes about his ability and development.
There are certain players who just look the part of a quality big leaguer. Cameron is in that category as a 6'1", 190-pound athlete who projects to have at least five average tools. This class is lacking in upside, especially from position players, so the Florida State commit is a clear standout.
Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News noted that scouts believe Cameron is a more advanced hitter than his father was even though some are split on his potential defense in center:
His son, scouts believe, could play quality defense in the majors right now. The son is not as fast as the father and may eventually move to a corner outfield spot.
On the flip side, Daz Cameron is a more advanced hitter than his father, a career .249 hitter with power. The bat makes Daz Cameron the rare five-tool prospect.
Scouts believe he could develop home-run power as his body matures. He is a line-drive hitter now, with gap-to-gap ability.
Speed isn't a defining trait for Cameron, though he's hardly slow. His ability to play center field stems more from his reads and reactions than pure foot speed. Being able to play in the middle of the diamond with his bat, which projects as above average with solid-average power, will make him a big leaguer.
MLB.com listed Cameron as the sixth overall prospect in this draft class, highlighting his ability to do so many things well:
While his upside has leveled off a bit since then (last year's Under Armour Game), he still profiles as a center fielder who could have at least solid tools across the board. In addition to his physical ability, he shows fine instincts in all phases of the game.
Cameron should have at least average big league power, but he doesn't worry about home runs at this point.
It's not often that a high school player comes along with no obvious holes in his game. Cameron doesn't have the biggest ceiling in the class because he lacks explosive tools, but there's something to be said for finding a good player who can do everything instead of reaching for someone with a higher ceiling and more flaws.
MLB Player Comparison: Dexter Fowler
This comparison is more for the player Fowler is now than what he was as a prospect, when some like Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein noted he had the tools to become a 30-30 player:
That's what is so exciting about him--we're talking about a player who still has a long way to go, but at the same time had a pretty good season in his full-season debut. If you are looking for a breakout player in 2007, Fowler plus the California League might be the perfect combination.
Now, even though Fowler has never lived up to that hype, the center fielder hits for average, gets on base at a good clip and can hit 10 home runs per season. He's been a liability in the outfield, costing his teams 49 runs in his career, according to FanGraphs.
Fowler had more speed coming up through the minors than Cameron, though he's never been able to translate that into high stolen-base totals at the MLB level. He's only swiped more than 20 bags once as a rookie (2009).
Cameron projects to have a little more power and less speed than Fowler as a prospect, so just focusing on what Fowler has done in the big leagues is a good jumping-off point. He may not be a superstar at the MLB level but will do enough good things to be a solid starter on a good team for a long time.
Projection: First-division center fielder
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
Cameron has more leverage than an average draftee because he comes from a family of means and can ask for as much money as he wants. MLB.com's Jim Callis wrote in his mock draft that the 18-year-old has a "reported $5 million price tag."
Per Baseball America, only the top four picks in this year's draft have a slot bonus of at least $5 million. That doesn't mean a team can't go over the slot to sign him; it just that a club will have to adjust funds from other spots in the first 10 rounds to make a deal happen.
If a team isn't willing to give Cameron the deal he wants, going to Florida State isn't a bad fallback plan. The Seminoles are one of the best baseball programs in the country and have made the NCAA tournament every year since 1978.
It would be a stunner if Cameron didn't end up signing. Even if he can't get exactly what his reported demands are, his new team can come close enough to satisfy him while offering the allure of developing with a professional coaching staff at a young age to reach that burgeoning potential.