Can Puello Squeeze Out Campbell For Bench Spot

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Eric Campbell is a virtual lock to make team.

Dave in Spain asks…

”Also, what are the chances of Puello making it over Campbell? Or does he get optioned/sent down on the last day of ST, after most teams have set their rosters?”

Daniel McCarthy replies…

My understanding, as of this moment, is that outfield prospect Cesar Puello is out of options.  Therefore, if he does not break camp with the major league team, he will have to pass through waivers before being sent down to the minors- which ultimately I think will happen.

Puello is hitting .294 this spring with a .455 OBP, but it’s too small a sample size and lacking in power (.294 slugging from nothing but singles) to justify his presence over Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker.  Both of those guys are in another stratosphere defensively than Puello and they’ve shown vast improvements at the plate that started last season, well before this spring.

Also, beyond the outfield logistics, Eric Campbell is a very valuable player and should be a lock for one of the bench spots.  His ability to make contact and play both corner infield positions will become increasingly valuable as the season wears on and fatigue sets in on the starters, particularly David Wright as the everyday third baseman and Michael Cuddyer as the platoon bat at first against southpaws.

Last year, Campbell had 145 at bats while playing third base, first base, DH or pinch hitting- all roles that speak to his background.  During those at-bats, he owned a .290/.344/.393 slashline and most importantly, he generated runs (13 runs scored and 11 runs batted in) and kept the bases moving when he didn’t find a pitch to hit (12 walks).

Sometimes in baseball, a guy can land on the wrong team at the wrong time, or just not have what it takes to earn a cup of coffee.  I’ll give Puello the benefit of the doubt and say that he’ll have to get his morning brew somewhere other than Queens.

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