Jeff Hurndon Photography / Many baseball scouting services project ELCA sophomore centerfielder Dazmon Cameron as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. “It’s a great honor to be ranked that high,” Cameron said, “but it doesn’t mean anything until that day comes.”
McDONOUGH — In the statistical story of Dazmon Cameron’s season, there is little that distinguishes it from the previous one. That’s not as bad as it sounds. The Eagle’s Landing Christian sophomore centerfielder is again hitting over .400, leading the team in runs scored, stealing bases and patrolling his position with impressive range.
But there is one stat that stands out, a trend that leaves no doubt about the progress he’s made and hints at Cameron’s potential — his power.
“His numbers are very close,” ELCA coach Doug Campbell said, “but the power numbers are better. He’s getting stronger and more mature.”
That’s a frightening possibility, both in the short-term for Mount Paran Christian, the No. 1-seeded and -ranked Chargers’ opponent in the Class A private school championship series this weekend, and in the long-term for opponents the next two seasons.
Cameron enters this weekend’s penultimate series with six home runs after hitting just two last season. He’s also tied for the team lead with 12 doubles, has the second best slugging percentage (.752) and leads the team in total bases (76).
“I’ve definitely got more power this season,” Cameron said. “I changed my stance a little bit to where I can drive the ball a bit further.”
It’s the last part of Cameron’s package of skills to emerge that has scouts and baseball prospect publications predicting stardom. They see his athleticism on the base paths, command of centerfield, strong arm and smooth swing. They know his pedigree as the son of former MLB veteran Mike Cameron, a former Gold Glove-winning centerfielder who played 17 seasons with eight teams and had over 200 home runs and stolen bases in his career.
Already, they are seeing what many are calling the future No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft in 2015.
“Daz is special,” Baseball America associate editor Nathan Rode said. “Very rarely do you say a right-handed hitter has a sweet swing. That’s usually reserved for lefties. He looks pretty special. He could be a stud.
“It’s tough to predict too much because there’s so much that can happen in a couple of years. But right now, he’s pretty darn good.”
Indeed, Cameron and those around him proceed with caution when looking toward the future.
“That’s a big call to make to try to project that far,” Campbell said. “But I could see that happening. If he develops and grows stronger, that could be the case.”
“It’s a great honor to be ranked that high,” Dazmon said, “but it doesn’t mean anything until that day comes.”
Said Mike: “I try not to get too caught up in it. Anything can happen in a year’s time. There’s no guarantees.”
So, right now, the moment is all about progressing. Dazmon says he spends most of his time in a batting cage, much of it in Marietta near his summer travel team, the East Cobb Astros 16U. He also has his dad’s years of experience to learn from.
“I always kind of helped him out development-wise but also let him figure out a lot of things on his own,” Mike said. “If he does decide to play on the next level, he’s going to be on his own a lot. I think it’s ideal, but I tutor him enough.”
Aside from all the physical tools Dazmon seemingly inherited, Campbell notices another.
“I don’t know Mike very well, but they seem to have the same disposition,” Campbell said. “Daz doesn’t get overly excited but gets the job done. No matter the kind of trash talk or pressure, he doesn’t change what he does. A lot of kids can’t handle that. He’s professional.”
With the professional possibilities still two years away, Dazmon focuses on this weekend. He started as a freshman on a Chargers’ team that reached the quarterfinals but lost to George Walton Academy last season.
The core of that team returned this season firm in its belief it should have made the finals and determined not to waste the opportunity again.
“This time we feel we can win it,” Dazmon said. “We just have go out and do what we’ve been doing. That’s where our mindset is at. It’s going to be fun.”