Junior Caminero was sporting blond hair for a reason when he showed up at Tropicana Field for the Rays’ minor league awards presentation.
“At the end of the year when I have a good year, I kind of give myself a little treat,’’ he said via Rays interpreter Manny Navarro.
The 19-year-old third baseman had an impressive first season in the Tampa Bay organization after being acquired from the Guardians in a November 2021 trade for righthander Tobias Myers, whom the Rays couldn’t fit on their 40-man roster.
In 62 games between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Charleston, Caminero hit .314/.384/.498 with 11 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He played sound defense at third base, along with second base and shortstop.
“I feel super good, but I try not to be too comfortable,’’ Caminero said. “I don’t want to be too comfortable where I’m at because hopefully, thanks to God, I can come up to (MLB) and make it.’’
The Rays promoted Caminero to Charleston on Aug. 10. The RiverDogs ultimately led all minor league teams with a .667 winning percentage and captured the Carolina League championship.
“He was a huge addition,’’ Charleston manager Blake Butera said. “He hit in the middle of the lineup for us, played a really good third base.
“He’s just a guy who can impact the ball as good as anyone I’ve ever seen. A lot of power and he’s mature in terms of offensive approach. Very mature for his age.’’
Caminero signed with Cleveland out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, but the pandemic delayed his pro debut until July 2021. He was surprised to be traded but quickly felt at home with the Rays.
“Since the first day, I felt like they (originally) signed me,” Caminero said. “It felt really good the way they welcomed me. It’s nice to know that they have confidence in me and I’m ready to give all I have.’’
— The Rays promoted national crosschecker Chuck Ricci to scouting director following the departure of Rob Metzler for an assistant general manager job with the Tigers. David Hamlett was named assistant director.
— Low-A Charleston manager Blake Butera will be the bench coach for Team Italy in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, working with manager Mike Piazza.