Another day, another minor league free agent for Dayton Moore and the Royals. Enter 31 year old, RHP-Jorge Campillo who has the distinction of having been signed twice and released once by the Atlanta Braves.
Campillo was signed by the Atlanta Braves as an amateur free agent on February 14th, 1996. Less than a year later, on January 27th, 1997, the Braves released him. He spent the next eight years in the Mexican League before signing with the Seattle Mariners on March 26th, 2005. In the next three seasons he accumulated only 17.2 ML innings in Seattle with a 7.13 ERA, 1.698 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 61. As a quick aside: how bad was Ponson’s 2009 stint with the Royals? His ERA+ this past year was 60.
Anyway, back to Campillo. On October 25th, 2007, he became a free agent and on December 26th, 2007 he was signed again by the Atlanta Braves. The 2008 season that followed was lightning in a bottle for the Braves. Campillo appeared in 39 games, 25 of them as a starter, and posted a fine season with an ERA+ of 108. He amassed 158.2 IP, with a 3.91 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 6.1 SO/9, and a 2.82 SO/BB. In 2008 he was basically the Braves version of Brian Bannister circa 2007 but with a far better SO/9 and SO/BB. In fact, when stacking up career numbers, Jorge Campillo has better numbers than does Bannister.
2009 was a lost season for the Royals new acquisition. Thanks to shoulder tendinitis, he managed only 4.1 innings. In his career he pitched 180.2 innings with a 4.23 ERA, 1.306 WHIP, 6.0 SO/9, 2.52 SO/BB, and an ERA+ of exactly 100.
I’m not saying Campillo is better than Brian Bannister. What today’s signing and yesterday’s signing of Brad Thompson do tell us is that Bannister is much closer to #5 starter and fringe ML pitcher than most Royals fans are willing to admit. These signings also prove how devoid of pitching talent the Royals roster truly is. The last two days the team has picked up guys, signed them to minor league contracts, and a case could be made for them stepping into the back of the 2010 rotation ahead of Davies, Hochevar, and yes, even Brian Bannister.
If he makes the team, Thompson should be used out of the bullpen. Campillo, on the other hand, should be in the rotation mix during spring training. I don’t know that he will make the team, and pitchers with shoulder tendinitis always worry me, but it is entirely possible that he could pitch his way into the #3 spot in the Royals rotation. That’s not an endorsement of Jorge so much as it is an indictment of the lack of quality beyond Zack Greinke and Gil Meche.
88% of Jorge’s ML innings came during the 2008 season, so very little can be drawn from his ML performance beyond the fact that he is capable of pitching successfully in 2010 for the Royals or another team. Of course the same could have been said about Horacio Ramirez and Sidney Ponson when the Royals were wrapping up in Surprise, Arizona last spring. Campillo and Thompson give the team some more pitching depth, but it is league average depth at best.
In closing, my parents are visiting from Minnesota for the weekend, so I’m not sure how much content I will publish in the next couple of days. Keep checking in and I will do my best to get stuff up as time allows.