Maybin May Be Finally Reaching Potential


There was a time a decade ago when a teenage Cameron Maybin was considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. After struggling to reach his full potential over 8 seasons in MLB with 3 organizations, the talented centerfielder is off to a strong start for his 4th club, the Atlanta Braves.

Coming into this weekend’s series with the Phillies, Maybin is hitting .281 with a .354 on-base percentage on the season. His previous high marks in those categories were back in 2011 with San Diego, when he hit .264 with a 323 on-base percentage.

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Maybin was always considered a potential power-speed combination. The power has never really materialized. He has just 38 homeruns in 2,340 career plate appearances coming into Friday night’s series opener. But the speed has shown up, with Maybin having a 40 and 26-steal season on his resume.

The Braves obtained Maybin as this season was about to get underway, in a huge trade with the San Diego Padres on April 5th. In that deal, the Padres sent Maybin, Carlos Quentin, prospect outfielder Jordan Paroubeck, and highly-rated pitching prospect Matt Wisler to the Braves in exchange for lights-out closer Craig Kimbrel and toolsy outfielder Melvin BJ Upton.

The Braves really wanted the young Wisler, as the club has been trying to accumulate high-upside pitching prospects under GM John Hart, and were willing to pay the price of the talented Kimbrel. But it was also a swap of Maybin-Upton, a pair of outfielders always considered to have enormous potential, each of whom has been considered a underachiever.

Maybin took over Upton’s spot in centerfield, and his success at the plate has enabled him to stay at the top of the Braves batting order for most of the season. He began the year as the leadoff hitter, and has become the #2 hitter in recent weeks.

Health has played a large role in Maybin’s success. He lost large chunks of both the 2013 and 2014 seasons to various injuries, just as he was entering his prime at ages 26 and 27. He was quoted on the injuries and current health by the Atlanta Journal Constitution back on June 8th:

Luckily I’ve been healthy this year and it’s been fun to go out and know that no matter what happens I still have my health behind me,” Maybin said. “(It) gives me an opportunity to go out each and every day to play, to do something special.

The Braves hope that the injury concerns are now fully behind him. If they are, Maybin could yet become the 20-homer, 40-steal, multi-tool player envisioned by prospect experts all those years ago. His current pace would see him finish with approximately 12 homers and 74 RBI, and those would each be career highs.

With their best all-around hitter, 1st baseman Freddie Freeman, out of the lineup until after the All-Star break with a sore wrist, Maybin will be a key piece to the Atlanta lineup during this weekend series with the Phils. He has hit .292 with 9 steals in 166 plate appearances against the Phils in his career. Neutralizing his bat near the top of their lineup would go a long way to helping take a couple of these games.