Padres Minor League Profile: Leonel Campos

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Feb 26, 2016; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Leonel Campos poses for a portrait during photo day at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2016; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Leonel Campos poses for a portrait during photo day at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Not all prospects rocket up the farm system and find themselves in the Major Leagues in a couple of years. Many have to put in a lot of hard work and years to get to where they make it to the Majors. Sometimes they have brief cups of coffee, don’t do well, and pray they will get another chance. One such player in the Padres system is Leonel Campos.

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Campos has had two brief appearances with the Padres, 6 times in 2014 and once in 2015. Overall he has thrown 8 innings, allowed 5 earned runs, struck out 10 and walked 5.

Campos grew up a soccer player in Venezuela before focusing on baseball and being signed by the Padres in 2011. He had to have Tommy John surgery after just one appearance in Low A Eugene and returned to the mound in 2013 as a reliever. Yet the scouts saw more in him, and converted him to a starter in 2014 when he went 2-7 in 14 AA starts.

Last year he returned to relief and had his best season yet. He appeared in 38 games with AAA El Paso, pitched to a 2.90 ERA and logged nearly 50 innings. He also struck out 68 in those 48+ innings.

Said his AA pitching coach in 2014 of Campos about his evolution as a pitcher, “You just want to make a pitch and make a pitch and be aggressive and that’s what he did.”

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The Padres bullpen is a crowded mess with a lot to sort out now, but if Campos keeps up his strikeouts and can improve further upon his control, he could be a fine addition to the bullpen and carve out a nice role for himself. Because of his surgery and late entry into professional baseball, his arm still has not logged a lot of innings despite being 28 years old and has a lot of valuable experience gained in the minor leagues.

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