With their final selection of Day 1 of the MLB Draft, the Mariners went out and got themselves an Arkansas Hoss. Isaiah Campbell represents quite possibly the highest upside selection of the day.
Armed with a mid-90s fastball that flashes plus potential, Campbell worked all offseason to develop secondary offerings the supplement his heater. He now brings an above-average slider, as well as average-yet-promising split-finger and curveball offerings. All four pitches have the potential to play at the major league level.
Another tall starting pitcher, Campbell sits at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. In 103 innings with the Razorbacks in 2019, Campbell punched out 108 and issued just 19 free passes. Considering his array of secondary stuff, that’s pretty impressive.
According to Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball.com, Campbell has the makings of a very strong pro.
“He really showed me something this year,” Rogers said. “...extremely consistent and poised. I think he moves fast with four very legit pitches.”
Opposing hitters managed a measly .207 average against Campbell this year, a good reflection of how un-hittable his stuff can play up.
One scout on Campbell:
“We had Campbell graded out as a second round pick,” he said. “He’s a good pitcher, even better kid. He’s a good rotation prospect, but I really think he has game-changing stuff out of the bullpen.”
Quite possibly the best part of Campbell is his inner nerd. A biochemistry major, Campbell is fully invested in data analytics. He gets it. He wants to know the numbers behind the numbers, a trait sure to help accelerate his progression.
Born in Portugal into a military family, Campbell grew up on several different air force bases. He’s no stranger to relocation or changes of scenery. Before too long, he may find himself back in Arkansas, this time leading the AA Travelers rotation to victory.
Campbell will head to Everett where he will continue to tinker with his mechanics in an effort to gain more consistency with his delivery. You’d best get up there in June or early July, because there’s no promises he’ll be there long.