Consider me a doubter.
Maybin has shown signs he can provide a combination of speed and power that led him to be drafted 10th overall in 2005. In 2007, he was a hot enough prospect to be the key player dealt by the Tigers to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera deal. Three years later, his stock had fallen enough that the Marlins got just a couple of relievers when trading him to San Diego.
His debut with the Padres was impressive enough to earn him a five-year, $25-million deal, but then he slumped again and battled injuries last season.
So will the real Cameron Maybin please stand up.
Maybin will turn 26 during the 2013 MLB season, younger than you may remember for a guy who has been on top prospect lists for eight years and made his major-league debut in 2007.
He showed in 2011 with the Padres that he could hit for a decent average at .264, be an elite base-stealer with 40 swipes, and added a career-high nine home runs. The question is whether or not that is his ceiling.
It should not be as he showed he could hit for average in the minors, but has yet to carry that over to the bigs. Maybin batted .304, .316, .319, and .340 in four of his minor-league seasons, and while that is obviously the minors, you would think he should be able to get closer than he has to those marks in the majors.
His 40 steals and nine homers in 137 games in 2011 give hope that he could steal 50 bases and hit 15 homers if he was ever consistent and healthy enough to stay in the everyday line-up for the Padres.
Maybin showed he can have improved power when he hit one of the longest homers in baseball last year and he made a swing change late last season that gives fantasy owners hope that he is doing something different to try and improve his offense.
Finally, he is a lock to get plenty of playing time as he has center field to himself and heading into the second year of a five-year deal, the Padres are going to be willing to stick through the tough times in hopes that they can turn him into a productive part of the line-up.
It’s tough to look at Maybin’s career stat line and project much of an uptick in any category other than batting average and even that is not a small sample size as he has batted .251 in 1,739 plate appearances in the majors. He has been below that average in three of the past four seasons with the .264 in 2011 pulling his career average up.
Maybin hit eight homers in 82 games in 2010, but had just nine homers and eight in the last two seasons with nearly twice as many at-bats in those years. After stealing 40 bases in 2011, he fell off to 26 last year.
One problem with Maybin in fantasy is that he cannot get on base enough to be the lead-off hitter that you hoped for as his career on-base percentage is .314 and he has at least 110 strikeouts in each of the past two years. That forces him to the bottom of the order where his speed results in less runs scored and stolen bases.
It seems like every year, Maybin has one of those hot streaks that makes you think he could become a .280 hitter with 20 homers and 60 stolen bases, but that is followed by slumps that leave you disappointed with his final numbers.
It is hard to imagine Maybin being consistent enough throughout an entire season to produce the stat line you want from him. However, he is a nice risk to take late in drafts as a guy guaranteed to get you 20 steals with the upside for much more.