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Jason Camilli

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Jason Darren Camilli

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[edit] Biographical Information

Jason Camilli was a second-round choice of the Montreal Expos in the 1994 amateur draft, out of a high school in Phoenix, AZ. He was the third Montreal pick that year, following Hiram Bocachica and Mike Thurman; like Thurman, his selection was compensation for the loss of Dennis Martinez to free agency.

He played in the Expos' organization from 1994 to 2000, reaching AAA with the Ottawa Lynx in 1999. He was mainly an infielder in the minor leagues, playing second base and shortstop. He should have been on the fast track to the majors, but he failed to hit much in the lower minors.

He hit .255/.348/.302 in his pro debut with the 1994 GCL Expos; he also fielded just .927. In 1995, he hit only .219/.331/.292 in 116 games between the Vermont Expos (.243/.329/.313) and Albany Polecats (.188/.335/.265), then in 1996 hit .223/.329/.284 in 119 games with the Delmarva Shorebirds. He stole 26 bases but was caught 17 times and also made 31 errors. In 1997, he put together a better season, batting .298/.355/.419 with 38 doubles in 113 games with the Cape Fear Crocs, but when he was given an opportunity to face a slightly higher caliber of opposition at the end of the season, he only hit .128/.163/.191 in 15 games with the West Palm Beach Expos. He also made 41 errors that year.

No longer considered a top prospect, Camilli hung around for a number of years in the Expos' system because he was a good fielder and displayed the right attitude. In 1998, he hit .258/.335/.331 as a utility man for the Jupiter Hammerheads, who had succeeded West Palm Beach as Montreal's affiliate in the Florida State League and earned a look with the Harrisburg Senators of the AA Eastern League (going 2 for 18 with 3 walks). In 1999, he was a back-up infielder with both Harrisburg and AAA Ottawa, hitting .234/.328/.332 in 98 games, then in 2000 again split the year between the same two teams, with a 5-game rehabilitation assignment in the Gulf Coast League, and hit .202/.268/.298 in 91 games.

The Expos let Camilli go after the 2000 season, and he moved to the independent leagues to continue his career, finding a job with the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League. He hit .247/.289/.341 in 24 games before getting another shot in organized baseball, this time in the Texas Rangers system. He played 55 games for the AA Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League, hitting .241/.370/.351, then finished the year with 13 games for the El Paso Diablos, where he hit an uncharacteristic .333 (albeit with a .357 OBP and .359 slugging, more in line with his usual levels). He played one more season in 2002, with the Arkansas Travelers, also in the Texas League, where he hit .225/.306/.305 in 112 games. He allowed one run in 1 2/3 IP. He played all four infield spots as well as the outfield; despite bouncing around, he managed to be Arkansas' most-used second baseman (52 games). He then played in Serie A1 for Parma, hitting .264/.352/.314 in 2003. He mainly was used at 1B (.987) and 3B (.851). He also pitched, going 1-2 with a save and a 4.34 ERA. He allowed a .341 average.

After retiring as a player, he was a minor league instructor in the Washington Nationals organization. He also worked as a fielding and hitting instructor for a baseball academy in the Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ area. Jason was in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization as the hitting coach of the Yakima Bears in 2012, South Bend Silver Hawks in 2013 and Visalia Rawhide in 2014.

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