Prospect Profile: Daniel Camarena

Past Trade Review: Javier Vazquez, Part II
The 40-Man Roster Chopping Block
(Jamie Scott Lytle/The North County Times)

Daniel Camarena | LHP

A Southern California kid from just south of San Diego in Bonita, Camarena grew up a fan of the Yankees and Andy Pettitte. He starred both on the mound and in the outfield for Cathedral Catholic High School, pitching the Dons to the California Interscholastic Federation title this spring. Camarena struck out 76 and walked just six in 49 IP as a senior, and four of those walks came in one outing. He took home a ton of hardware in high school, including Rawlings First Team All-American and California All-Region in 2011. He was also named First Team All-CIF and an AFLAC All-American in 2010.

Camarena was strongly committed to The University of San Diego, where he would have both pitched and played the field. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him as the 15th best prospect in SoCal and 138th best prospect overall prior to the draft, but the USD commitment caused him to slide to the Yankees in the 20th round, the 629th overall pick. He agreed to an above-slot $335k bonus about a week before the signing deadline, but did not appear in a game after signing.

Scouting Report
Standing 6-foot-1 and 200 lbs., Camarena is a three-pitch lefty that sits anywhere from 85-91 with the fastball. His best secondary pitch is an average changeup that is light years ahead of the typical high school draftee’s. He turns the pitch over well and it fades away from righties. Camarena’s curveball is also a solid pitch that generates swings and misses at its best. All of his stuff plays up because of aptitude and control, which is advanced for a teenager thanks in part to his simple delivery.

Camarena also has legitimate pro ability as an outfielder, using a sweet line drive swing to spray the ball to all fields from the left side. He has more long-term potential on the mound however, so that’s where the Yankees will keep him. Here is Camarena’s draft video, and there are a number of clips of him both pitching and hitting on YouTube.

2012 Outlook
Camarena is a little more advanced than some of the other high school arms the Yankees have drafted in recent years, but he’s still likely to held back in Extended Spring Training before debuting in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League next June. An assignment to Short Season Staten Island instead isn’t out of the question, but I wouldn’t count on it.

My Take
I’ve always preferred high school pitchers to their college counterparts because they haven’t had a chance to be run into the ground or develop bad habits at the hands of their college coach, and Camarena is no different. He’s a legit three-pitch lefty with decent size and an idea of how to pitch, and I think he’s the best pitching prospect the Yankees drafted this summer. I can see an argument for Jordan Cote, but I’ll take the polished lefty over the raw righty in this case. I’m excited to see what he’ll do during his pro debut this year, and whether or not the Yankees bump him up to Staten Island before the end of the season if he’s pitching well. I wouldn’t say Camarena’s upside is significant, but he has the tools to pitch in a big league rotation down the line.

Past Trade Review: Javier Vazquez, Part II
The 40-Man Roster Chopping Block
  • Gonzo

    Walked 6! 6! Can we teach him out of that bad habit? Musta been the way he was raised.

    • andrew

      those are his pitching stats not his hitting

  • Gonzo

    Mike, do you think there is an advantage of getting players used to wood bats sooner (18-19) rather than later(21-22)? For batters or pitchers?

    • Mike Axisa

      I definitely do, especially pitchers. College pitchers never really pitch inside because a batter can get jammed and still hit the ball out with a metal bat. College hitters can develop a “metal bat swing,” which is real long.

      • Gonzo

        Thanks, makes perfect sense.

      • Gonzo

        Great Brien taylor article BTW.


      • Eric

        That should change with the BBCOR bats used in College and this year in High School. If you hit the sweet spot the ball travels better than wood but it does get rid of the miss hit HR’s. My son has hit the BBCOR bats and says it is a lot closer to swinging a wood bat. Scouts have said it will also allow them to better evaluate hitters and pitchers.

        • Gonzo

          That’s good news considering players like Camarena will likely go to college under the new CBA.

        • RkyMtnYank

          My daughter has a BBCOR bat she is trying out for college softball, she hates it, says it’s “dead”. She has never used a wood bat but definitely notices the difference from her other bats. This isn’t an issue for softball, but, if they can make metal bat similar to a wood bat for the younger baseball leagues then that will be great!

          • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

            All of this begs the question…why don’t they just mandate the use of wood bats?

            • Mike Axisa

              Too expensive.

            • Rick in Boston

              One part is the expense. While metal bats are more expensive per item, the cost of wood bats over the length of a college season can be prohibitive to many programs. Unfortunately, not all programs have the financial ability to purchase a few dozen bats per season.

              I could see the NCAA possibly helping schools out, but I can’t see high schools or youth leagues being able to afford it.

              • RkyMtnYank

                Also, most kids/families today have to purchase their own bats that they need for all the various teams they end up playing for even before college. One $200 metal bat can last for even a couple of seasons.

  • MannyGeee

    suuuuure, Cespedes has a YouTube video and people laugh and mock. but this kid’s YouTube video makes him legit????

    pfffft. i pee on your obvious bias for guys not wearing all spandex and jumping on really high boxes and working out on the beach… pee alllll over it

  • MattG

    I refuse to read this article, as it does not mention Tom Glavine at all.

    • MannyGeee

      Camarena is not from New England, obvious comp avoided.

      Did mention Pettitte though, so can we make him the comp-jump?

    • Craig Maduro

      He’s 6’1″ and has a really good change-up. Clearly we’ve got a Jaime Garcia clone on our hands. If we’re lucky he’ll be the next Johan Santana (minus the shoulder surgery because I said so). Either way, he’s got several All-Star games and World Series MVPs in his New York Yankees future.

  • JohnC

    Very excited that they got Camerena signed. Was hoping that they would also get 44th rounder Adam Ravanelle, but didn’t get that one done

  • Rockdog

    Mike, just wanted again to say thanks for the work you put in on the articles. They do make the winter go by a little bit faster.

    • Mike Axisa


      • Rockdog

        NP — also liked the Brien Taylor article on fangraphs. I remember that story really well, and it still sucks.

        • thurdonpaul

          i have 200 brien taylor rookie cards :(

    • thenamestsam

      +1. I really enjoy these articles specifically and in general I’m always blown away by the amount of quality content produced here even when nothing is happening.

  • Dropped Third

    Where can i find a list of all the picks that were drafted and signed in last years draft?

    • Mike Axisa
      • Sweet Dick Willie

        So one of the last twenty picks (rounds 31-50) signed. Are the rest going to college?

        • Rick in Boston

          Or staying in college and vastly improving their draft stock. There are a few guys who were hurt last year (Rathjen, I believe), or who flew under the radar b/c of competition (Thompson).

          • Donny

            The deadline to sign these guys is long gone, right?

            So what happened with Stafford? Yanks get compensated next year or somethin?

  • RkyMtnYank

    From the videos it looks like he likes his curve the best and for his out pitch. Not sure we saw a change unless it was the second pitch of the youtube video. Looks like the fastball will be a show-me pitch to setup all the junk. Does seem to have a lot of “pitcher” poise out there though.

  • Bo Knows

    A great thing about HS pitchers for me, is that their up side is still very much in flux. Some of these guys could very well turn into something during the college years, that could put them in the 1st round of a draft.

  • Rainbow Connection

    He grew up a Yankees fan in southern California? Was he also a Cowboys fan?

  • William

    Sounds a lot like Henry Owens, a Red Sox farmhand.

  • cranky

    The Yanks love Camarena.
    At Instructs, he was consistently throwing at the top end of his range and impressed all the scouts with his poise and his change-up.
    If he stays healthy, Camarena will be a Top-20 in the system a year from now, maybe even better than that.
    He’s already been compared to Manny Banuelos. Banuelos’ broad shouldered frame translated into increased velocity as he got a little older, just as some scouts had predicted. Camarena’s got those broad shoulders, too, and he’s taller than Banuelos.
    Camarena is also a very, very good tequila for its price.

  • leonard

    you want talk about lefthanders from southern california,in this year’s draft will be kyle richter from usc
    he is going to be the next dominant starting pitcher in baseball.
    if you see his video he reminds me of tom seaver but from left side.
    Remember this guy’s name. i don’t where he’s projected to go in this june’s draft but he definitely a keeper. if anyone knows where he’s expected to go in the draft please tell. if yanks keep their draft picks would he be available where we pick first.