Jonathan Mayo

Cameron ready to Daz-zle this summer

Son of former big leaguer, Mike, showcases talent on circuits as Draft awaits

Cameron ready to Daz-zle this summer

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- There are lofty expectations on Daz Cameron's shoulders.

Some come from the last name and the fact that his father, Mike, played in the big leagues for 17 seasons. Sons of former Major Leaguers are often saddled with carrying on the family business.

Not all of the pressure is familial. The younger Cameron is responsible for much of it on his own, based on how he's performed on the field. On the radar for some time, Cameron more than held his own as an underclassman at the Under Armour All-America Game a year ago. Now he's on the showcase circuit again, this time as a member of the next Draft class -- one many feel could go in the early stages of the first round.

"I love this," Cameron said before his third game here at the East Coast Professional Showcase, the annual four-day event run by scouts. "I love baseball. It's great. I don't have any problem with playing every day. Coming to all of these events, it's fun."

It better be, because Cameron's docket this summer has been very full. It started with the Perfect Game National Showcase, then went on to USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars, from which the toolsy center fielder was chosen for the 18-and-under trials roster. After the East Coast Showcase, Cameron will play in a pair of All-American contests, heading to San Diego for the Perfect Game Classic and then to Chicago for a repeat performance in the Under Armour event the following weekend.

If that's not enough summer baseball, Cameron has the USA trials in Houston from Aug. 23-29. If he makes the team, he earns a trip to Mexico to play in the 18U COPABE Pan American Championship in September.

"Nope, no rest at all. It's a lot more baseball," Cameron said. "This has been a grind this year, going to all [the events]. It's been a lot, but it's been great so far."

All of it points toward an exciting spring in 2015 for Cameron at Eagles Landing Christian Academy in Georgia. Being ordained as a potential front-runner to be the No. 1 pick in the Draft may not mean a whole lot once the calendar turns to June, but there's no question a lot of eyes have been on Cameron this summer to see how he performs and responds to the attention.

"Sometimes, it gets to me," Cameron said. "But there's a time when I say, 'Just go out and play my game and not worry about all the pressure. Just go out and be me.' I know what I can do. I know I can go out and play the game how I play and how it's supposed to be played and that's playing it hard."

Having a dad who did it that way for as long as he did certainly benefits Cameron. He grew up around the game, following his father and soaking up the knowledge. The lessons, Daz recalls, started around 13. Even by that age, Cameron knew what he wanted to do with his future. He didn't need to be reminded by his father to pay attention.

"I remember going to the ballpark with my dad, him teaching me certain things about the game," Cameron said. "It was great to be around that environment. It sort of matured me for the next level, like pro ball, so you can be ready. I'm glad I have enough information, because it's really important to me.

"I was focused. We had times where we played around, played pickle in the batting cages or something, but I listened to my dad. I knew it was going to help me in the long run. I took all I could."

One of the greatest things Cameron may have gotten from his father is how he played the game. Yes, the effort was always there, but there was always a joy and passion emanating from Mike when he was on the field. It's clearly something that rubbed off on his son as he watched.

"It's important to come out and have fun," Daz said. "I know it's a job. If you don't love it and you can't have fun, then why are you doing it? If you want to have a good time playing baseball and you want to do it for a long time, you have to have a good time."

Cameron tries not to look ahead too much, understanding fully that there's a long way to go between points A and B. He also knows the First-Year Player Draft isn't the ultimate goal here, though he couldn't help but smile when thinking about how if things go the way they seem to be headed, he'll beat his father, an 18th-rounder in 1991, in terms of Draft position by a healthy margin.

"It would be great to brag a little bit. I have to get there first," Daz said. "The Draft is only going to be the beginning. I'm looking forward to the journey. It's going to be great. Right now, I have to focus on doing this, focusing on what's going on right now. When that time comes, that time comes.

"You have to stay humble. This game will humble you. You can't get the big head in this game, because it will knock you down, chew you up and spit you out."

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.