By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It has been quite the start to the season for Reading outfielder Cameron Perkins.
A sixth-round pick of the Phillies in the 2012 draft out of Purdue, Perkins has hit the ground running at the Double-A level. He is hitting .338 with 19 runs scored, 18 runs batted in, 12 doubles and four steals through 33 games.
“I’m seeing (the ball) well, putting some good swings on good pitches,” Perkins told KYW Newsradio after one of Reading’s recent games in Trenton.
Production is nothing new for Perkins since turning pro. He hit .294 in 2012 after being drafted, splitting time between the Gulf Coast League Phillies and Short-Season-A Williamsport in the New York-Penn League. Then last season he hit .295 with seven home runs for High-A Clearwater.
Perkins is 23-years-old and feels good about his rapid progress in the Phillies’ system.
“I’ve always had confidence in myself and figured I can play anywhere,” Perkins says. “But definitely this year, couldn’t ask for a better start. I mean it’s a long season, but to come out like I have this first month-and-a-half, it’s definitely been nice.”
Reading Fightin Phils manager Dusty Wathan has enjoyed having Perkins in the line-up this season.
“The biggest thing everybody says is that he’s a baseball player,” Wathan tells KYW Newsradio. “None of his tools jump out at you as far as scouting-wise, but he knows how to play the game. He is comfortable at a lot of different positions, all the outfield positions, first base, even played some third base in college. So he’s obviously comfortable on defense. Has great anticipation, great awareness, just great baseball IQ, I think. He just finds a way to put the barrel of the bat on the ball.”
One of the first things you notice about the 6’5″ Perkins when he steps to the plate is he is one of the rare players that hits without batting gloves.
“I used to wear batting gloves in high school,” Perkins says. “What happened is I broke my finger, ended up having to wear a finger splint and I couldn’t fit a batting glove over it. Then I used no batting gloves for a couple months and I just got used to it and I preferred that, feel like I control the bat better without them.”
While Perkins has hit for average everywhere since turning pro, his home run power is still a work in progress. He has hit ten home runs in nearly 900 minor league plate appearances. But Wathan expects that area of his game to come along soon.
“It’s only his second full year (as a pro),” Wathan says. “A lot of times we talk about the development of power, that’s something, the last thing that comes. His hand/eye coordination is tremendous. I think that will come with him being a little bit more selective at the plate and picking and choosing the times that he really needs to air it out and go for something in the gap. I think it will come as he matures as a hitter.”
Perkins and the rest of the Reading Fightin Phils visit the New Hampshire Fisher Cats tonight.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.