I know this post will be unpopular from the onset.
Tony Campana, with his blazing speed and boyish good looks, has won over throngs of Cubs fans, but that doesn’t make him an everyday player.
There’s no denying the kid’s been off to a hot start since joining the Cubs to replace Marlon Byrd.
He has five hits, four stolen bases and two sacrifices, enough for Dale Sveum to move him to the two-hole in favor of Darwin Barney. (Interesting because Barney is batting .304, 9 RS & 7 RBI from two-hole).
Campana, however, still appears overmatched at the plate. He’s struck out in nearly half his at-bats, often looking desperate to make contact.
Opposing pitchers have figured out his shtick, too. They pound the strike zone with hooks knowing the slap-hitter will flail wildly, which helps explain Campana’s lone walk and zero extra base hits.
Supporters of Campana point to the fact he’s only 25-years-old, a career .303 hitter in the minor leagues and plays a good center field. If Sveum would only give him a chance…
But I’ll remind you the same was said about Felix Pie four years ago, who had striking similarities to Campana’s game: singles hitter, fast, decent fielder and far too often overmatched offensively.
The Cubs gave Pie 130 games to prove himself an everyday player. As of Wednesday’s game Campana (0-for-4, 2K) played in his 100th contest as a Cub.
So it seems roughly 30 games from now when Chicago is poised to summon Brett Jackson from Triple-A Iowa, the Tony Campana experiment will likely suffer a similar fate to that of Pie’s Cubs tenure as an everyday guy.
If you’re a Campana lover you must be thinking there’s a ‘hater in the house’ . Not the case.
I’m not knocking Campana’s makeup, effort, or energy he brings to the lineup. In fact, that’s exactly why I believe he adds value to the team.
What I don’t do, however, is confuse Campana as an everyday player or core prospect in the Cubs overhaul project. He’s not a Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Matt Szczur or Junior Lake…and that’s okay.
I simply love Campana for who he is as a player: a solid teammate, stealthy base stealer, and a formidable role-player–off the bench.