The C’s Chat spotlight is on 2019 Vancouver Canadians infielder/outfielder Cameron Eden.
The 6-foot-1 Californian was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth round of this year’s MLB Draft from the California Golden Bears. Eden may not have been the headliner on the Golden Bears roster because of his two first-round teammates, first baseman Andrew Vaughn (3rd overall – Chicago White Sox) and catcher Korey Lee (32nd overall – Houston Astros). Still, Eden turned in a strong season in his own right after hitting .350/.419/.541 with 17 extra-base hits and 18 stolen bases. With the Golden Bears getting back to the Regionals for the first time since 2015, Eden says it was a season to remember.
“It was a lot of fun. I think going in, we knew, (for) a lot of guys it would be their last time playing together. We definitely took it and just have as much fun as we possibly could together while winning games. Playing for the guy next to us, that was like our motto. It was a great experience. We were surrounded by a lot of guys. Andrew Vaughn – the best hitter in the country – and then my roommate Korey Lee. It was a great experience. We all bounced ideas off each other and just helped each other out throughout the year.”
Getting to play ball in the competitive Pac-12 conference was something Eden enjoyed.
“It was great. You play against guys. I mean, Adley Rutschman, the number one pick overall. A couple of first round pitchers. It was a great experience. There’s always someone that’s coming out on the mound that’s going to compete against you. I think it definitely prepares me for pro ball.”
Bull Market for Golden Bear
Eden’s performance with the Golden Bears represented a bounce-back year from his sophomore season when he batted just .247, a drop from the .315 he hit during his freshman year. The 6-foot-1 Eden tried to remain on a more even keel heading into this year.
“I think just taking the mentality of having fun with the game and not putting too much pressure on yourself. I think that’s something I did in my sophomore year. I didn’t have a great year. I think just trying to stay as level as much as you can. You try to avoid the ups and downs but obviously it’s baseball so you’re going to have those. You just try to keep a steady mind and just keep going about your business no matter what.”
A finger injury resulted in Eden having to move from shortstop to left field and centre field but the increased defensive responsibilities was something he grew to like.
“I’ve actually enjoyed the outfield a little bit more than I thought. Going into the outfield this last year, I was a little iffy on it but I started to enjoy it. For me, I’d play anywhere on the field. Any opportunity they give me, I’m going to take it.”
Staying sharp on the diamond and on the grass is something Eden works on during batting practice.
“I definitely do some infield stuff everyday, no matter if I’m playing infield or outfield. Usually if I’m playing outfield, I’ll do my infield stuff before the BP. For me, I just get my live reads in the outfield BP and stuff, get those reads in the outfield.”
When making his way to the batting cage, Eden says he needs to be prepared.
“I think a big step for me was realizing to go into BP ready to hit rather than taking BP to get ready to hit if that makes sense. So when I go in, it’s a live game to me. I take each round within a certain approach. Work away, work the middle. For me, I got to stay low. I try to keep the ball in the air, I try to keep hard line drives. That’s something that makes my swing feel pretty good.”
Looking back on his time at the University of California, Eden felt it helped him grow as a person.
“I think just maturity, honestly. When you go to college the first time, kind of living on your own and whatnot. Just kind of figuring stuff out for yourself. I think that just helps me when I come here, I kind of know who I am and what I like to do and what not.”
One person who helped with Eden’s personal growth was coach David Esquer.
“Definitely my freshman coach. He actually coaches at Stanford now. He was a big part of my development my freshman year. I came in not knowing what was going to happen. Not a big recruit out of high school or anything. He definitely stayed on me mentally and physically to get me ready for college baseball. I still keep in contact with him and he gives me words of encouragement. He’s a great guy. He always helps me out.”
After a three-year stint with the Golden Bears, the next goal for Eden was to get drafted. As the late Tom Petty once sang, the waiting is the hardest part.
“I was actually with my girlfriend. She had drove me home and my parents were both at work so I once found out, I called my parents and whatnot. I was just with my girlfriend, I was hanging out.
It was pretty nerve-wracking. I’m not going to lie. For me I just took it like ‘Wherever I get picked, I get picked’. I tried not to put too much pressure on it and think about it too much.
The day came, I knew the second day was most likely when I was going to go. When that came around, I just waited patiently. I first found out about in on the draft tracker on Twitter so once I read my name, I got really excited. I got a couple of calls after that so that was the draft story there.”
When it came to potential major league destinations. Eden says the Blue Jays were not on his radar but he was on the radar of Jays scout Randy Kramer.
“Leading up to the draft, the Blue Jays were one of the last teams I thought of, honestly. I never met with the area scout. I didn’t have much contact with him at all. During the draft, I had an advisor so I didn’t deal with a lot of the calls or whatnot so my advisor was the one handling that. He didn’t have any idea, I didn’t really know any of the teams particularly. He gave me a call before the fifth round saying that the Blue Jays were looking at me in the sixth round, the middle of the sixth round so that was the first time I had heard (any) word and there wasn’t really much after that.”
It was not the first time an Eden was drafted by Toronto. Cameron’s older brother Chandler Eden was drafted as a pitcher by the Blue Jays in the 17th round out of Yavapai College in Preston, Arizona in 2015 after a brief cup of coffee at Oregon State. Chandler was also taken by Colorado in the 36th round out of Yuba City High School in 2013 and was also selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Texas Tech in the 25th round back in 2016.
Unfortunately for the elder Eden, he never threw a pitch in the minors. He missed all of 2016 due to injury and was released by the Dodgers in 2017.
Transitioning from college to the professional level, Cameron Eden has noticed the level of play ratcheting up.
“I can definitely see the difference. Especially velos, velocity stands out like that but I think (playing in the Pac12) prepared me pretty well. It is a little bit of an adjustment for sure.”
Another difference for Eden is the sell-out crowds at Nat Bailey Stadium nearly every night.
“Just the atmosphere here. There’s 6,000 thousand fans almost everyday and they’re all pulling for you. They get into it so that’s a big difference from kind of my smaller school environment.”
Eden has been at the top of the lineup card submitted by C’s manager Casey Candaele most games and that’s where he’s hoping to stay.
“I love leading off. This last year of school was the first year I ever led off and I fell in love with it so hopefully I can stay there.”
When it comes to boiling down Eden’s game, it comes down to two things.
“I’d probably say I’m athletic and pretty speedy on the basepaths and in the field. I’m kind of scrappy. I try not to strikeout or whatnot. All in all, that’s pretty much it.”
Baskets & Base Hits
Like most players growing up, Eden did not limit himself to the diamond. He also played two years of basketball at Yuba City High School but baseball was his first choice from a young age.
“When I was six years old probably. It’s been my whole life. I also played basketball my whole life as well. Sports have been in my life the entire time.”
Playing basketball along with baseball did have its benefits for Eden.
“I think just conditioning and keeping my legs strong. Some seasons can be long. Just being able to maintain your legs and not have them give out throughout the years was a big part of that.”
Hailing from Yuba City, California, Eden says he was a fan of one of the Bay Area teams.
“It was definitely the Giants. It was just mainly because growing up, we’d ask that they be the games that we went to. Between them and the A’s, it was definitely the Giants (we saw) the most. That was my team.”
Eden did not hesitate in naming his favourite player.
“Definitely Brandon Crawford. Definitely someone to try to emulate or whatnot because he’s a great shortstop and a great player.”
Thanks a million to Cameron Eden for this episode of C’s Chat. He can be followed on Twitter @CamGo_Ham. Special thanks again to C’s Media Relations Assistant Jordy Cunningham for arranging the conversation.