Sunday, March 8, 2015

In the Mix: Arquimedes Caminero

Arquimedes Caminero, 27, is from Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The righty was signed by the Marlins in 2005 and spent the next two years in the DSL, shining in 2007 when he went 2-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 16 games, striking out 48 batters in 47 2/3 innings.

That earned him a promotion to El Norte, where he pitched in the Rookie League, short season and Low A , going a combined 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 21 relief appearances, striking out 31 batters in 27-2/3 innings. In 2009, he pitched at three different A levels, posting a combined 3-1 record with a 5.53 ERA in 27 appearances, striking out 61 batters in 40-2/3 innings. In 2010, he toiled for the Sally League Greensboro Grasshoppers and went 5-2-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 48 appearances, striking out 97 batters in 74-2/3 IP.

From 2011 to 2012, he compiled a 1-0-3 record in 32 games. He had a 9.00 ERA in 2011, missing a big hunk of time with a bad elbow, and a 1.64 ERA in 2012 with Class A Jupiter and AA Jacksonville after recovering. He started the 2013 season with Jacksonville. He compiled a 6-2-5 slate, 3.48 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and 69 strikeouts while playing for both the Suns and the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs and was lookin' good.

Arquimedes Caminero (Photo: Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Caminero debuted in the show on August 16th, 2013, throwing a scoreless inning while striking out one and hitting a batter. He got in a couple more games, was sent back to AAA and returned with the September call-ups. His 2013 line included a 2.77 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, 20 strikeouts, and a hold in 13 IP, a strong rookie showing albeit a tiny sample.

The 2014 season proved to be a mountainous road bump for the righty. He got in a handful of innings during a couple of call-ups with the Fish, going 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA. Arquimedes spent most of the season pitching for AAA New Orleans, where he had a 4-1-10 record and 4.86 ERA in 42 appearances. He struck out 11.3 batters and walked 4.3 per nine innings. Putting together back-to-back solid campaigns was becoming quite the challenge.

Caminero was sent to the Pirates on February 4th for cash after being DFA'ed, coming cheap because he's out of options, and he took the final spot on the 40 man roster. He's one big dude at 6'4", 250 pounds or so and can bring the heat. It's been said that he's hit triple digits, and uses a slider as his second pitch.

The Bucs were on an off-season mission to add some power arms to their worm-burning staff, and Arquimedes fit the bill, averaging 11 K per nine innings during his minor league career. Unfortunately, that stat was offset by the 4.5 walks per game. Caminero also added 50 hit batters and 55 wild pitches in the 369-1/3 frames he worked.

He was brought to camp to compete for a set-up spot, and his bid for that job will depend greatly on him ringing up some strikes. Caminero showed his stuff against the Yankees during his last outing, striking out three Bronx Bombers swinging in his inning of work, though he did live up to his rep by plunking one, too. One good spring frame doesn't mean much, but it did keep him on the radar in a crowded field of relief candidates.

Caminero doesn't have time on his side; he'll be 28 in June. But he is with an organization that's helped strike-challenged guys with good stuff in the past, and he'll get a long look. It helps his cause that if there's a coin-flip when camp breaks, both John Holdzkom and Jared Hughes have an option remaining. Big John in particular could probably use a little more seasoning in the minors, hopefully picking up a second pitch.

So you can add Arquimedes Caminero to your Florida bubble-watch list; he has elite heat if he can find the plate.

On a final note: according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, his name should be a rich data delight. "Arquimedes Euclides named for a couple of super-ancient Greek mathematicians: Archimedes and Euclid. Why? 'My father saw the names in an algebra book and liked them,' said Caminero." Maybe we'll just call him the Big Arquimedes.

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