Eric Campbell went from OK to dreadful to fantastic.
Last year in his first professional season, Campbell batted .251 with seven homers and 29 RBIs in 56 games with the Rookie Gulf Coast League Braves. From there he moved to the Class A Rome Braves and slogged through seven games with one RBI, no extra-base hits and a .136 average.
This year? Different story.
Campbell, originally drafted in the second round (71st overall), had a monster season with the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League and won two MiLB.com Awards for his effort: Class A Short-Season Offensive Player of the Year and Breakthrough Performer.
Still, Campbell hit a few bumps along the way. Despite belting two homers and knocking in five runs in the season's second game, he often struggled to reach base, batting .250 and drawing just one walk through the first two weeks.
By July 19 Campbell's average dropped to .231, but he quickly turned things around with 10 hits over his next four games. By the end of the month, he was up to .286 and went on a 12-game hitting streak to raise his average to .318.
For Campbell, the offense seemed to come in bunches. Three times, he knocked in 10 runs in a four-game span. On two occasions he scored four runs in a single game, including his season-best performance against Burlington on July 22 when he went 3-for-3 with three doubles, two RBIs and three stolen bases.
Campbell, who helped the Braves to the Appalachian League finals, finished the season with outstanding numbers, leading the league with 18 homers, 26 doubles, 64 RBIs, 77 runs and a .634 slugging percentage. He batted .313 and tied for fifth with 15 steals.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.