Who is Cameron Perkins and what makes him different than many other projected stars? Open-minded Philadelphia Phillies' fans could find a set of evolving answers to that double-barreled question soon.
Perkins is a 23-year-old outfielder who the Phillies selected from Purdue University in the sixth round of the 2012 Major League Baseball amateur draft. Since getting that call he's amassed nearly 250 hits across five levels of professional baseball. This season he's using a Double-A bat to swing toward the Ted Williams' line, as the Reading Fightin Phils (formerly Reading Phillies) outfielder is hitting .380 through early-May.
Phillies' bandwagoneers began jumping off what was an enormous red pinstriped machine sometime after the 2009 World Series was secured by the New York Yankees. Many followed suit after 2010 and 2011 postseason rides subsequently stopped short. Dashed unrealistic dreams still prevent those fickle fans from believing that a new generation of ballplayers can eventually restake Philadelphia's baseball claim.
Meanwhile, 'Cam' has been occupying left field this spring back in Reading, Pennsylvania, which is a shift from a right field spot he occupied for the majority of last season in lower minor league levels. Previously the 6 foot 5 inch, 195-pounder played first base and third base as well. Regardless of what glove he wears, the Indiana native seems likely to earn a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley if he continues to consistently sting the ball with his right-handed swing.
Domonic Brown's long path to the big leagues has led him to left field at Citizens Bank Park. Darin Ruf is expected to return from the disabled list in the near future and should split time with Brown in that corner, as well as with Ryan Howard at first base.
Any prospect who demonstrates superior contact skills will eventually be given a chance to square up against the best pitchers in the world. If Perkins keeps producing, he seems destined to appear on Ryne Sandberg's scorecard. By the time that happens, a different type of outfield configuration will be in place and all fans both hardcore loyalists and renewed devotees will be cheering as one.