The Rays may have clinched a playoff spot, but there’s still much work to be done. With the O’s loss on September 21, Tampa is just a game and a half away from first place in the AL East and a first-round bye. And, the Rays are set to add a major reinforcement to help with the late-season push, per ESPN. Infielder Junior Caminero is reportedly headed to the Majors after an incredible 2023 campaign in the Minors. Here’s what to expect from the 20-year-old.
A Look at Caminero
Prior to the MLB lockout in 2021, the Rays and Guardians made a one-for-one trade that’s turned considerably into Tampa’s favor in recent years. The Rays traded right-hander Tobias Myers, an intriguing pitching prospect with hit-and-miss stuff, to the Guardians in exchange for an 18-year-old infielder named Junior Caminero.
Myers didn’t last long in the Guardians organization, as Cleveland dealt him in July 2022 to the Giants. Caminero, meanwhile, turned into a budding superstar.
Caminero hit .326/.403/.492 with the FCL Rays in 2022 before he received a promotion to Low-A Charleston. The young infielder proceeded to belt six home runs and nine home runs in his first taste of non-complex league action.
That was just a taste to come, as he forced his way to Double-A in 2023 after he posted a .356/.409/.685 slash line in 36 games with Bowling Green (A+). Double-A pitching proved to be no match for Caminero, either, as he hit .309 with 20 home runs and 62 runs batted in over 81 games.
The big draw for Caminero is his bat. Fixed with an open stance, the 20-year-old proved to be a plus power hitter that flashed an incredible amount of bat speed and pure strength. That allowed him to hit home runs in bunches.
The young infielder also drew a fair amount of walks down in Single and Double-A this season. Caminero posted an 8.2% BB% rate in the Minors.
Defensively, Caminero’s seen time at short but has primarily played at third base throughout his MiLB career. MLB.com projects him to be a slightly above-average fielder.
Junior Caminero was not on the 40-man roster prior to the start of September and his promotion to the Rays.
What it Means for Rays and Fantasy Outlook
It’ll be interesting to see what roster gymnastics the Rays do in order to get Caminero on the roster. While Tampa does have Isaac Paredes at third and Taylor Walls replacing Wander Franco at short, it does appear that the Rays are shorthanded in the infield at the moment.
2B Brandon Lowe is reportedly day-to-day, while INF/OF Luke Raley will miss time with a neck issue that occurred during the Rays’ weekend series against the Orioles. Since Caminero was in the organization prior to September 1, the young infielder could become postseason eligible via petition should he replace someone who goes on the IL and served the minimum time required for activation.
No, Caminero isn’t a left-handed bat. But, the young infielder has plenty of power and can fill in for the Rays while they are down two power bats.
As far as Caminero’s fantasy outlook is concerned, the 20-year-old does have quite the profile. He’s proven to hit for a high batting average and plenty of power in the Minors, which does have to excite fantasy players. However, it’s still unknown how the Rays will actually use him.