Anybody remember Johan Camargo?
Early on in the 2022 season, Johan Camargo had somewhat consistent playing time under Joe Girardi. In the first three months of the season he started 30 games for the Phillies, mostly playing at shortstop. While I am a big fan of giving players opportunities, Bryson Stott was on the bench while Camargo was playing most of the time. That was a problem.
Camargo, 29, signed a one-year contract, worth $1.4 million dollars with the Phillies last offseason. At the beginning of the season, he spent a lot of time with the major league club but then when it got down to the nitty-gritty of the season and also when Girardi got fired, that’s where Camargo began to spend most of his time in Lehigh Valley.
2022 stats: 166 PA, .237/.297/.316, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 7.8 BB%, 22.3 K%, 74 wRC+, 0.2 bWAR
When the Phillies signed Camargo, they were signing his glove, plain and simple. Camargo, over his four seasons and 724 1⁄3 innings played at shortstop, only committed 4 errors. Not only can Camargo play elite defense at shortstop, he can play anywhere he is needed in the infield. Outside of his shortstop play for the Phillies, he also logged innings at third, second and first base. Hence, that’s the most likely reason why the Phillies decided to sign him because he is so serviceable defensively in the infield.
To touch on his offense or lack thereof, Camargo batted his best when he faced right-handed pitching. He had a respectable batting average of .279 and brought in nine runs across the plate. Most of his offensive success came in the early part of the season which makes sense since he was getting a good amount of playing time, he batted .269/.321/.365 with a homerun.
Camargo was good with his glove for the Phillies which they paid, for but Camargo was a liability at the plate.
Moving on from his defense and his utility glove positives, I want to dive into more deeply about Camargo’s not-so-elite batting skills for the Phillies. Outside of his breakout season in 2018 for the Braves where he had a slashline of .272/.349/.457 as well as garnering 126 hits, 18 home runs and bringing in 76 runs, he has never been associated with the phrase, a consistent hitter. As stated above, Camargo had a putrid on-base percentage and batted just above the .230 mark. We’ll cut him some slack because he was mostly coming off the bench but that is just not ideal.
Not only was he struggling at the plate in the majors, he couldn’t even get redemption in Lehigh Valley for the Iron Pigs. His 2022 minor league hitting stats were forgettable and to be honest, his major league numbers were better! He batted .213/.311/.298 and only managed to get 30 hits in 141 minor league at-bats.
If we take a quick peek at his Baseball Savant page we can also see that he is in the 7th percentile of sprint speed and in the 27th percentile of max exit velocity. I’m not throwing him under the bus because he is not fast but I’m only showing another aspect of his non-credible offensive game. Not only does being, not fast, affect your offense but it can also hurt your chances to field a ball. Luckily for Camargo, being in the lower percentile of sprint speed hasn’t affected his defensive skills.
Camargo on Nov. 27th signed a minor-league contract with the Minnesota Twins. I would expect this contract to play out very similarly as it did for the Phillies. When the Twins need a defensive infielder if someone goes down, they will call up Camargo to play. Shoot, even if they need someone off the bench to face a righty, maybe they will call up Camargo.
Camargo sure did earn a D- for his offense but his defense at all positions in the infield helped jump up his grade a bit.