Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1. Cameron Maybin

1. Cameron Maybin - Center Field - 6'4 - 205lbs - Throws: Right - Bats: Right
(last year: 1)

Like there would be anyone else?

The centerfield spot has been an issue for the Marlins over the past few seasons and with no big time prospect in the minors to speak of, the Marlins felt they needed to target one when they decided it was best to part with Miguel Cabrera. Enter Cameron Maybin. The Marlins acquired Maybin, along with Andrew Miller, Eulogio De la Cruz, Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop and Mike Rabelo in exchange for Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Even though he was rated as a top 5 pick out of TC Roberson HS by Baseball America, Cam slipped to the tenth spot due to signability concerns. The Tigers would eventually sign him for $2.65mil. He didn’t sign until September of 2005, so his professional debut wasn’t until the next season in low-A West Michigan. In 385 at bats, he hit .304/.387/.457 with 35 extra base hits, 50 walks and 116 strikeouts. This performance as a 19 year old quickly put him on the short list of top outfield prospects in baseball.

In 2007, Maybin began the year with High-A Lakeland in the Florida State League. He absolutely dominated the FSL hitting .304/.393/.486 with 34 extra base hits, 43 walks and 83 strikeouts in 296 at bats. This earned him a promotion to Double A Erie where he saw just 20 at bats. Six games into his Erie stint, Cam was called up the bigs to start in centerfield with the Tigers. Clearly overmatched in his 49 at bat debut, he did manage to single and homer off Roger Clemens for his first two big league hits.

Maybin has a lanky build with very long arms which sometimes elongates his swing. He has a big frame and has shown power to all fields. Even with that power, he has no problem putting the ball on the ground and trying to beat out an infield hit. Like many young players, he needs to work on his pitch recognition but that should improve with every game he plays in. He has tremendous hand-eye coordination and he does a good job of keeping his whole body under control when swinging. He has plus speed and runs with an effortless stride while tracking down balls in the outfield gaps. On the basepaths, Cam has proven to be able to steal bases at an 80% clip thus far in his major and minor league career combined. In the field, he needs to improve his reads once the bat hits the ball. He has a strong arm, but it did not show the usual accuracys in 2007. Some believe it was due to a shoulder ailment that cost him nearly a month.

2008 would be Maybin’s toughest task to date. The 6’4 centerfielder would open up with Carolina in Double-A. He suffered from nagging injuries from much of the year, but that didn’t stop him from putting up a .277/.375/.456 line as one of the youngest players in the Southern League. Cam would strike out at a higher rate than in any season before, but his walk rate improved as well. Late in the year, he would make his Marlins debut and he lit the world on fire for a few weeks, grabbing 16 hits in 32 at bats.

Cameron has a strong work ethic and great makeup. Even with the quick promotion from Double A to the majors in 2007, he remained remarkably composed through the entire thing. Some have compared him to Torii Hunter, while others have said he reminds them of a young Andre Dawson. With his season in Carolina, and his blistering 32 at bats in majors, the time has come for Maybin to be roaming centerfield in Dolphin Stadium. With the news of Hanley Ramirez now hitting third in the order, Maybin may be the next unconventional leadoff hitter in the Marlins lineup.


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