For all the big prospect call-ups here in September, none is bigger than Rays third baseman Junior Caminero, who will reportedly join the club Friday. Too bad it's too late to be of major use to Fantasy Baseballers in most league formats.
The consensus top-five overall prospect (probably No. 3 for me next year) has broken out with a .324 batting average, 31 homers and .976 OPS in the minors this year. Most of that production has come at Double-A even though Caminero was still just 19 when the Rays moved him up there in late May.
The home run total is impressive for any prospect at any level, but for one so young at that particular level, it's near unprecedented. And it's not the work of some all-or-nothing masher like Joey Gallo. Caminero earns equally high marks for his hit tool and profiles to be a middle-of-the-lineup force for years to come.
The problem for this year is that there's only one week left. The Rays are scheduled for just five games in it, and there's no guarantee Caminero will start all of them given that they're already set at third base with Isaac Paredes. Maybe Caminero will play mostly DH, or maybe Yandy Diaz will shift to DH, sliding Paredes over to first base and freeing up third base for Caminero. But for the Rays in particular, no arrangement is an everyday arrangement. There's also the small matter of Caminero being a 20-year-old making the leap directly from Double-A. For all his talent, there's no telling how he'll respond in his first week as a major-leaguer.
It'll be fun to track his progress both that final week and into the postseason. No doubt, Caminero has a chance to turn himself into a prime draft target for 2024. But for 2023, this promotion is too little, too late.