#RememberThatCub: Tony Campana
By: Alex Patt
“Blue streak, speeds by! Tony Campana! Too fast for the naked eye! Tony Campana! Tony, he can really move! Tony, he’s got an attitude! Tony, he’s the fastest thing alive!”
Yes it is appropriate to dub the Sonic Satam theme with the name of this issue’s #RememberThatCub Tony Campana. The 5–8, 170lb outfielder was a weapon on the bases during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. His speed was pretty remarkable and one of the few fun things to watch during two years which the Cubs lost a combine 192 games. He may not have been an all star caliber player with a name that was household around the league but Cub fans certainly remember him.
Campana was drafted by the Cubs in the 13th round of the 2008 draft, and he made his MLB debut on May 17th, 2011 vs. the Reds. He came in the game late and hit an RBI double after replacing Alfonso Soriano in left. In 2011 he played in 95 games with 155 PAs putting up a .259/.303/.603 slash with 24 stolen bases out of 26 attempts and one home run which was an inside-the-parker at Wrigley Field. Interesting to note he was a 1.4 fWAR player that year.
Campana had some AAA time in 2012 but also got to play in 89 games. He stole 30 bases out of 33 attempts and slashed .264/.308/.607 with no home runs. His contact rate was not great with a 22.4% K rate in limited time and only a 5.7% BB rate, but his speed made his contributions to the team have positive value. In 55 of his 89 games he played in center with a few games in right and left. He had a +2 DRS (defensive runs saved) but a -1.0 UZR (ultimate zone rating) and no errors. He could use his speed and giant glove to flag down flyballs.
In total Campana stole 54 bases in 184 games as a Cub with a .306 OBP and only one double play grounded into. He had 95 total bases in 347 plate appearances. It is interesting to note that his BABIPs were high (.351 in 2012) considering he was a slappy hitter who just tried to make contact and run it out. In fact 69.4% of his batted balls were on the ground and only 9.3% hit in the air in 2012; 66.7% on the ground and 17.7% in the air in 2011.
On February 18th, 2013 Campana was traded to Arizona for two minor leaguers. He played 55 games in 2013 and 2014 with the Diamondbacks and then 18 to finish 2014 with the Angels. His last MLB game was on September 28th, 2014 vs. Seattle. Though from 2015–2016 he had minor league stints with the White Sox and Nationals he never saw the majors again. He now plays independent ball with the Sioux City Explorers.
Do you #RememberThatCub?
Alex Patt is a writer for Wrigley Rapport and other sports publications and podcasts. You can follow him on twitter @chifanpatt1