PHILADELPHIA - Purdue baseball alumnus Cameron Perkins has been called up to the big leagues by the Philadelphia Phillies after being a three-time all-star in Minor League Baseball.
Perkins was a three-year starter for the Boilermakers from 2010 to 2012, helping Purdue compile a combined record of 115-58 (.665) that ranks as the best three-year run in program history. He joins Kevin Plawecki (New York Mets) and Nick Wittgren (Miami Marlins) as members of the 2012 Big Ten championship team to make it to the majors. Perkins is the 17th Boilermaker overall to reach the big leagues.
Primarily a third baseman for the Boilermakers, Perkins has transitioned to an outfielder in pro ball. He has proven he can play all three outfield positions and that versatility helped facilitate his promotion to the big leagues Tuesday.
Perkins had compiled a .298/.388/.476 slash line this season for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs and was a strong candidate to be an International League all-star again. As of June 19, he ranks among the top 10 in the league in doubles (17), batting average, OBP and OPS (.863). Lehigh Valley’s 46-24 record is the best in all of Triple-A baseball, including the Pacific Coast League.
Perkins and Lehigh Valley teammate Hoby Milner, a left-handed pitcher, were called up when the Phillies opted to designate MLB veterans Michael Saunders and Jeanmar Gómez for assignment. Perkins was not on Philadelphia’s 40-man roster prior to Tuesday.
When Perkins makes his big league debut, he’ll become the fourth Boilermaker to play in an MLB game this season. Wittgren is currently with the Marlins, Plawecki played for the Mets from mid-April to mid-May and Josh Lindblom (2007-08) pitched in four games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in May before an injury led to his current stint on the disabled list. The 2017 MLB season would be the first in which four Purdue alumni appeared in a big league game. Previously, three Boilermakers played in the majors in 1964, 1965 and 1998.
The Phillies open a three-game homestand vs. St. Louis tonight and embark on a six-game West Coast road trip to Arizona and Seattle this weekend. The July 17 to 19 Phillies-Marlins series in Miami could produce a Perkins-Wittgren matchup.
Perkins had spent time in big league camp at spring training each of the last four seasons but had been unable to crack the 40-man roster for Philadelphia, which has been rebuilding since 2013. The Phillies selected him in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He was the second of the program-record seven Boilermakers drafted that year.
Perkins has played in over 500 MiLB games, earning midseason all-star honors in the Florida State (Class A Advanced, 2013), Eastern (Double-A, 2015) and International (2016) Leagues. He’s a .283 career hitter in pro ball with 198 extra-base hits, 265 RBI and 36 stolen bases.
A two-time All-Big Ten honoree for the Boilermakers, he batted .355 with a team-high 86 hits, nine home runs and 61 RBI in 2012 as a unanimous first team selection. Even when the bats changed to the BBCOR model in 2011, his numbers improved after being a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American a year earlier. He finished his Purdue career with an .348/.401/.541 slash line to go along with 25 home runs, 148 RBI, 31 stolen bases and a .955 fielding percentage. He made 141 of his 171 career starts at third base, including 57 of 58 during the Big Ten championship season.
Perkins ranks among the Purdue all-time leaders in batting average, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, runs scored, total bases, slugging percentage and hit by pitch.