The New York Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Cameron Planck in the 11th round of the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft from Rowan County High School in Morehead, KY. Cameron later signed with the Mets on July 13, 2016 and received a $1,000,001 million signing bonus.
After the signing, Cameron explained to this writer during an exclusive interview on 01/14/17 that the organization made the decision at that time to shut him down for the season due to a heavy workload during Senior year of high school.
Cameron was instead provided with a specific throwing program and routine to follow after joining the organization and work towards building arm strength, fitness and adjusting to pro ball through his participation in the instructional league. Fast forward to spring 2017 and Cameron is now inching closer to his debut, and a dream he has had for as long as he can remember. I caught up with Cameron this week for updates on his journey, a possible destination to make his debut, and updates on his performance and work being put in daily with the organization in extended spring.
With the big club having broken camp and started season, Cameron has remained back in Port St. Lucie with those prospects designated by the organization as destined for one of the short season affiliates. Cameron has been pitching for the Mets in extended spring games, and so far at this point has been pitching one inning at a time. It appears at this time there is a likelihood that Cameron will skip the GCL Mets affiliate, and make his long awaited debut with the Kingsport Mets, based upon the grouping of prospects Planck has been playing in spring games with at this point.
I’m also able to report that Cameron, through the ups and downs of the early going during extended spring, has been working on his mechanics, delivery and has been consistently touching 94-95 MPH on his fastball. I’m also excited to learn about Cameron’s progress in working on his pitches, including a hard two-seamer with sink, to go with his curveball and changeup.
The major work Cameron is putting into his fastball is in the sink, movement and most importantly the command. Having been known well known throughout high school baseball as a hard thrower, Cameron has been spending the offseason and this spring working more on being a “pitcher” not a “thrower”. Planck discussed at length his desire to learn, stating “I love learning”. Cameron also shows the maturity and understanding that it is a process. Cameron has no fear of failure, and as he states regarding the opposing hitters throughout this process, “I’m gonna get hit”.
Also of note during Cameron’s extended spring thus far is his encounter he had with Mets star closer Jeurys Familia. Familia as we know was serving out his 15 game suspension during spring, and Cameron felt lucky and blessed to have been paired with Jeurys during a simulated game. During this time Jeurys was gracious and supportive in giving Cameron tips on his two-seamer, grip and mechanics which Cameron has found invaluable to have learned.
Due to Cameron having not pitched at all following the draft last season, he may still be given the strict pitch count and limits through this upcoming season as if he was just drafted like many others who will be this coming this June before the short seasons begin. This is reason to not make any quick judgments or projections on what direction the organization wants to go with Cameron as he makes his debut and pitches out the season in 2017.
Overall, Cameron Planck has spent the extended spring working on his game, focusing on his weaknesses and getting experience facing high level prospect competition which while young is still above the level faced in high school. All while going through the motions of being a paid professional, in a sport Cameron has stated numerous times has been his life long passion.
I asked Cameron about feeling any pressure in having to wait so long to make his pro debut, to which Cameron quoted his father who taught him, “There’s no such thing as pressure. You put that on yourself”.
From my first contact with Cameron Planck I have been impressed with everything I’ve seen. And what I see is workhorse. I see a player willing to learn, adjust, fight through the growing pains of pro ball and do so while throwing a God given natural ability of mid to upper 90s heat.
Cameron Planck has a fan in me. I hope everyone supports him as well in his journey towards his debut, and progression through his life as a professional baseball player.