When the Braves acquired Cameron Maybin from the Padres, many saw him as just a throw in in the trade. Many figured he was involved to financially offset Melvin Upton Jr.’s albatross of a contract, and that Maybin’s deal could potentially become faulty from the team’s standpoint as well. Months later, Cameron Maybin is now one of our star players on offense with the guidance of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.
Maybin has never lived up to the high expectations people set for him as an up-and-coming prospect. The centerfielder was a consensus top 10 prospect in baseball for three seasons, and was the main piece that the Marlins got in exchange for Miguel Cabrera back in 2007. Maybin has played parts of nine seasons in the big leagues, and has had his career hampered by injuries. He is just a .250 career hitter, but if he can play out the 2015 season it will be just the 28-year-old’s third full year in the big leagues. Now healthy and playing every day for the first time in three seasons, Maybin is having a career year.
Headed into this season, Maybin saw a video of Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and became interested in his approach at the plate. He studied Seitzer’s approach, and talked to Padres hitting coach Mark Kotsay in regards to incorporating some of his teachings into his routine. Little did he know that just a month later he would be playing under Seitzer. Maybin is hitting .293 on the year with 5 homers and 32 RBI. He has even swiped 11 bags. This is all while providing great defense in center field. All of Maybin’s statistics are on pace to be career highs, and he has found a home as our 2 hole hitter. What is most impressive about Maybin is the timing of his hitting. Maybin currently leads the MLB in average with runners in scoring position at .460. The Braves stranded so many runners on base in 2014. Who would have thought that Cameron Maybin would be the answer. He is arguably the most clutch hitter in the Majors right now, and one of the big reasons the Braves are still thinking about the possibility of a playoff run.
Many will discuss trading Maybin while his value is at its peak, and many may argue that his success is a fluke. I think he is just in the right situation to flourish. His success is the result of finally being healthy, being in the right situation, and getting to play every day. Maybin’s deal runs through next season with a team option for 2017, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he played it out with Atlanta. While Mallex Smith is one of my favorite prospects in the system, he is a couple years away and can always move to left field. The Braves have revived Cameron Maybin’s career, and it has paid off big time. He is a huge part of why the Braves offense has exceeded expectations in 2015.