Born: June 16, 1987
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 250
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l free agent, 2005 (Marlins)
How Acquired: Trade from Marlins (for cash)
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: Kinzer Management Group


Caminero is a hard-throwing prospect who’s developed very slowly.  He spent three years in the DSL, then lost a year and a half to an elbow injury.  He throws in the mid-90s, sitting at 94 in his brief callups, and he’s topped 100 a number of times.  His best secondary pitch is a slider that still needs to improve, and he also throws a cutter or splitter, depending on your source.  He’s had trouble with his mechanics and hasn’t been able to shake it.  Caminero has had a platoon split in one or two seasons, but otherwise he’s had none.  He’s not a groundball pitcher.  Despite the fact that Caminero is 27, he’s still pitched fewer than 400 innings across ten minor league seasons.  The Pirates acquired him for cash considerations after Miami had designated him for assignment.

DSL:  1-2-0, 5.54 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, 26.0 IP, 8.0 BB/9, 4.2 K/9

The Marlins used Caminero strictly in relief in his pro debut.  He struggled, walking nearly twice as many as he struck out.

DSL:  0-1-0, 7.36 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 22.0 IP, 5.7 BB/9, 8.2 K/9

Caminero went back to the DSL and improved his walk and K rates significantly, but still got poor results.

DSL:  2-3-0, 2.83 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 47.2 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 9.1 K/9

Caminero made further progress, putting up good numbers for the first time.  He started four games and otherwise relieved.

R:  0-1-3, 1.56 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 17.1 IP, 5.7 BB/9, 10.4 K/9
A-:  1-0-0, 4.91 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 7.1 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 9.8 K/9
A:  0-0-0, 3.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 3.0 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

Caminero started off in the GCL, then moved up late in the season to the NYPL.  He also made one appearance in low A.  He pitched only in relief — in fact, at the time the Pirates acquired him his only four pro starts had been the ones he made in 2007 — and continued to make progress, striking out well over a batter an inning but also showing some control problems.

A-:  3-1-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 24.0 IP, 6.0 BB/9, 15.8 K/9
A:  0-0-0, 5.65 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 5.0 BB/9, 10.7 K/9
A+:  0-0-0, 30.86 ERA, 3.86 WHIP, 2.1 IP, 7.7 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

Caminero started the season in extended spring training, then had two very poor outings in high A at the end of May and beginning of June.  The Marlins sent him down to the NYPL, then promoted him to low A in early August.  He put up prodigious strikeout numbers at both locations, but also had trouble throwing strikes.  You have to wonder whether he was getting enough experience from pitching just 25-40 innings per year.  Caminero was eligible for the Rule 5 draft after the season, but the Marlins successfully gambled that no team would think he could stick in the majors all year.

A:  5-2-3, 3.01 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 74.2 IP, 4.1 BB/9, 11.7 K/9

Caminero had his first truly good year, getting his walk rate under control, holding opponents to a .200 average, and missing lots of bats.  The Marlins added him to their 40-man roster after the season.  Baseball America ranked him the 20th best prospect in the Marlins’ system after the season.

R:  0-0-0, 9.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 1.0 IP, 9.0 BB/9, 18.0 K/9

Caminero missed the entire season, except for one outing, due to an elbow injury.

A+:  1-0-1, 0.44 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 20.2 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 11.8 K/9
AA:  0-0-2, 3.06 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 5.1 BB/9, 8.7 K/9 

The elbow injury kept Caminero out until the beginning of June.  He split his season between high A and AA, putting up impressive numbers for the former and not-so-good numbers at the end of June.

AA:  5-2-5, 3.61 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 52.1 IP, 3.6 BB/9, 11.7 K/9
AAA:  1-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 2.0 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 4.5 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 8.3 K/9

Caminero made great strides with his control and put up better numbers than his ERA in AA.  Miami called him up in mid-August, sent him back to the minors for one stat at the end of the month, then brought him up for September.  He pitched well in the majors.  BA rated him the Marlins’ twelfth best prospect after the season.

AAA:  4-1-0, 4.86 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 63.0 IP, 4.3 BB/9, 11.3 K/9
MLB:  2-1-0, 6.18 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 6.2 IP, 5.4 BB/9, 10.8 K/9

The Marlins evidently obtained a fourth option for Caminero and sent him to AAA for nearly the whole season.  He didn’t pitch well, allowing too many walks and hits.

MLB:  5-1-0, 3.62 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 74.2 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 8.8 K/9

Caminero was out of options going into spring training, but he made the Pirates’ decision easy by having a strong spring.  He got off to a very strong start, holding hitters to a .512 OPS in April and .574 in May.  Through three months, he had a 1.09 WHIP and 10.03 K/9.  He had a rough July, getting ripped for a .971 opponents’ OPS, before rebounding with his best month (.389 opposing OPS) in August.  He then had a mediocre Sept/Oct (.786 OPS).  Caminero actually saw his velocity jump, averaging just under 98 mph and regularly topping 100 mph.  At the same time, his control improved, although sometimes-faltering command probably accounts for the rough stretches he had at times.  The Pirates frequently used Caminero in a 7th inning role in the season’s first half, setting up Tony Watson and Mark Melancon.  After the Pirates acquired Joakim Soria at the trade deadline, Caminero often appeared in tie games and other random, tight situations. He sometimes pitched multiple innings, including three in an extra-inning win against Arizona.

Caminero was an outstanding find for the Pirates and yet another triumph for pitching coach Ray Searage.  He’d need to improve his command to move into an 8th inning or later role — major league hitters can hit 100-mph fastballs — but he should be a very useful reliever regardless.  He also won’t be eligible for arbitration for another two years, so he’ll provide outstanding value.

2016: $532,500
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2005
MLB Debut: 8/16/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 5/25/2015
Options Remaining: 0 (USED:  2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
MLB Service Time: 1.060
May 25, 2005: Signed as an international free agent with the Florida Marlins.
November 19, 2010:
Contract purchased by the Florida Marlins.
January 28, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins.
February 4, 2015: Traded by the Miami Marlins to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.