|Cam Perkins, image- Jay Floyd
Perkins signed quickly in 2012 and upon his pro debut he batted .158 with three RBI in five games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. Following a promotion to the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, Perkins shined. In 67 games, he tallied a .304 average with 23 doubles, one triple, one home run and 38 RBI.
The following season, Perkins was a top performer in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. The year, he was sidelined with a fractured wrist after being hit by a pitch on May 31st. At the time of his injury, Perkins was among the league leaders in several offensive categories.
Five weeks later, Perkins was back in action and completed a solid season with Clearwater following two rehab outings with the GCL club. Overall that season, he batted .299 while notching 30 doubles, five triples, six homers and 53 RBI.
In 2014, the Indiana native reached the Triple-A level in his second full professional season. After starting his campaign with Double-A Reading, where he posted a .342/.408/.495 slash line in 52 games. Following a promotion to Lehigh Valley, more experienced pitching presented some concern for Perkins and his production declined. In 74 games with the IronPigs, he batted .216 with two home runs and 17 RBI.
Coaches and Phillies brass aren't worried about the dip in numbers at the higher level, though. Director of player development Joe Jordan cited Cody Asche and Maikel Franco as players who went through the same struggles upon first arriving in the International League.
This off-season, the Purdue product batted .292 with a triple and an RBI in eight games with La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League.
The six-foot-five 195-pounder is an aggressive swinger that puts the ball in play. He's a hitter and doesn't walk a great deal. Ideally, being more selective at the plate should be a goal for Perkins.
Coaches rave about his hand-eye coordination. Former Phillies OF and last year's Double-A Reading hitting coach Rob Ducey asserted to me in an interview that Perkins, with his frame and abilities, reminds him of a young Dale Murphy.
Perkins isn't a big speed threat, having stolen 17 bases in 30 minor league attempts. The 24-year-old does, however, have excellent instincts on the bases and is a guy that could impact a game with his feet by taking an extra bag in the right spot or by going first to third with ease.
Defensively, Perkins has played a great majority of his games in corner outfield positions, but has played 34 contests at first base, 14 at third base and three in center field. He performs well in each role and could have a future as a utility guy in the big leagues, but obviously he hopes to continue being an everyday player.
Another turn in Triple-A will certainly be in order for Perkins this upcoming season and will be a key reason for fans to get out to games at Lehigh Valley's Coca Cola Park this year.
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