Recently I was lucky enough to sit down with Mets minor leaguer 3B/LF Eric Campbell. 2010 was an interesting year for the 23-year old Norwich, CT native; in some ways he resembled a younger Lucas Duda in that he's always been a guy with a solid bat and especially good plate discipline but he's never shown the power many expected. Like Duda, last season that power came on in a big way and by the all star break he was as potent a bat as you could find in the Mets system. At that point he had posted a .327/.398/.522 line, he'd already blown past his career high with nine homers and had already earned a promotion up to Double-A Binghamton.
Unfortunately, that was when he broke his finger which became an injury that sidelined him for over two months. He made it back onto the field for the final 30 games but didn't look the same at the plate. He also struggled in a short winter appearance in the Venezuelan Winter League which begged the question: Was the breakout first half just a fluke or were his injuries the source of the late-season struggles?
Eric and I spoke about this very issue, playing in Venezuela, his defensive flexibility and more. Press the 'Play' button below to listen in!
Click past the break for a transcript of our chat:
Rob: So first just want to ask you what was your offseason like?
Campbell: It was cold, I'll tell you that. The month of January was hard to get through. But I spent some time down in Venezuela which was nice. And it's good to be back [in Post St. Lucie] in February.
Rob: You touched on it a little bit, your time in the winter league. Can you elaborate? What was that like?
Campbell: It was definitely a fun experience. I got to see a lot of things that I've never seen before. Obviously living in another country for five weeks, it was an adjustment but you know, once you get on the baseball field it was all the same. At times it was hard to live in the hotel and not speak the language. But once I got to the ballpark every day it was familiar and I had a lot of fun playing.
Rob: Looking back to your 2010 a little bit, you got off to a tremendous start obviously. I think your month of May you batted like .400...you put up numbers all over the place. And then you had that injury, it was a finger injury. Was that disappointing for you, just when you were getting going?
Campbell: Absolutely yeah. I felt like I was right where I wanted to be; my swing, everything felt good. You know the injury was touch but it happens, everyone, throughout the season, gets injured once or twice. So if it does happen again, I'd kind of like to recover a little bit better than I did last year. But all in all I thought it was a positive season and I put myself in a position this year to do some good things.
Rob: Now it sounds like when you came back, you weren't quite 100%. Because I know the results weren't there like they were in the first half...
Campbell: The hand hurt a little bit it was more of just getting my timing back and facing live pitching again. It took a while [to heal] but the hand wasn't really an issue come the end of the year.
Rob: Looking at the defensive side of things, you've kind of moved around a little bit last season. You played some third, I think you played some left also. Where do you feel most comfortable defensively?
Campbell: I feel equally as comfortable everywhere. In college and in high school I played the infield mostly, so first and third were comfortable. And then the last couple years I've been playing a lot more left field and that's actually what I played every game down in Venezuela. So I'm pretty much comfortable everywhere now.
Rob: Looking towards 2011 a little bit more, do you have any goals or expectations that you're setting for yourself?
Campbell: No I don't -- I just want to stay healthy and come to the park prepared every day.