The Seattle Mariners announced this morning that they have recalled RHP Isaiah Campbell and designated LHP Tommy Milone for assignment. This is the second time Milone has been called up for a lone appearance and DFA’d immediately afterwards, as is the life of a journeyman spot starter. He may clear waivers once more and return to Tacoma as he did previously, which would be a boon for the organization.
In his place, to help bolster the bullpen for the final four games of the first half of the 2023 season, comes righty reliever Isaiah Campbell. The University of Arkansas product was selected 76th overall in the 2019 draft on the heels of a stellar performance for the Razorbacks in the College World Series. Injuries and effectiveness, alongside a high-effort delivery shifted Campbell to the bullpen, but he has thrived there at every level. Over the past two seasons at Double-A Arkansas, Campbell has served as a high-leverage reliever, putting up a 51-9 K-BB (33.8%-6.0%) ratio in 37.0 IP and as many games with a 2.92/3.09 ERA/FIP.
Campbell’s repertoire is fastball-slider these days, with heat in the mid-to-upper-90s, and a slider that has been a lengthy work in progress but now showcases significant depth and dodges bats delightfully. That does give lefties a better chance against him, however the depth of his slider back foots them well and should afford him the chance at success.
Isaiah Campbell shuts the door in the 9th. Travs win again. pic.twitter.com/taACcTgbQb— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) June 25, 2023
Thematically, there’s a great deal of interest in Campbell as well. Beyond the stache and goggles combo, Campbell was recognized by the organization for community service with their Dan Wilson Award in 2021. The pick that Seattle took Campbell with was the one they acquired from the Cleveland Guardians in the three-team swap involving the Rays, led by Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnación. Though he finished high school in Olathe, Kansas, due to his father’s travel during time in the United States Air Force, if and when Campbell makes his debut, Campbell will become the first known Portuguese-born MLB player in the history of the league (apologies to Frank Thompson in the National Association in 1875, MLB says you can kick rocks). Saúde, Isaiah, and best of luck to you.