Pitcher Profile: Shawn Camp
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Other Pitching Profiles:
Shawn Camp was drafted out of George Mason University in 1997, shortly after converting from a backstop to a pitcher. Following minor league stints with the Padres and the Pirates, he landed his first major league relief position in 2004 with the Royals.
After four inconsistent seasons—two years with the Royals, two with the Devil Rays—Camp signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays prior to the 2008 season. With a changeup newly integrated into his repertoire, the right-hander was recalled soon after Spring Training and contributed to the Blue Jays’ league-best 2.94 team ERA. He was particularly good against righties that season, holding opponents to a .204 batting average and finished the year with a career-high 58 strikeouts across 79.2 innings.
His ERA dropped to 3.50 in 2009 and then to a career-best 2.99 the following season, before ballooning up to 4.21 in his final year in Toronto.
After being released by the Mariners during Spring Training, the 37-year-old Virginian inked a minor league deal with the Cubs in 2012. He pitched 77.2 innings in 80 appearances, accruing a 3-6 record with two saves and a 3.59 ERA. Though this season has been rocky for Camp with 11 hits and eight runs while compiling a 15.43 ERA in 4.2 innings, Dale Sveum appears to have confidence in the veteran, even naming him the club’s closer for a time being this season.
Camp is one of several pitchers profiled in Vine Line’s 2013 Pitching Preview, available in the April issue, on sale now. We’ll be posting pitching profiles throughout the month, so be sure to check back to see what’s in store on the mound for 2013.
Repertoire (Avg. MPH): 4-seam (89), Sinker (88), Change (83), Slider (80)
2012 Stats: 77 IP, 16.5 K%, 5.3 UBB%, 3.59 ERA, 109 ERA+, 1.29 WHIP
Last Season: The Cubs signed the veteran reliever to a minor league deal at the end of March, and he ate up innings in several roles on his way to a 3.59 ERA.
Plan of Attack: Bend or break—nothing straight. Camp splits the difference between sinking pitches to his arm side and sweeping them to the glove side. His change has developed into a solid offering, mimicking his sinker and getting batters to roll it over. Camp did induce the lowest ground-ball percentage of his career (47% from a previous low of 52%), largely due to him doubling the use of his slider at the expense of his sinker and change.
Putaway Pitch: Slider. Because of Camp’s sidearm release, his slider actually “slides” across the plate at an almost purely lateral angle. That makes the pitch tough to barrel and leads to a substantial share of easy flies. It also means that his slider doesn’t get many whiffs. Perhaps most impressive is his ability to throw it on both sides of the plate while keeping it low in the zone.