Where should Maybin play?

Juan C. Rodriguez on Cameron Maybin and his latest performance:

What should the Marlins do with Cameron Maybin? He went 3 for 4 Tuesday for Triple-A New Orleans, raising his batting average to .331 since his demotion. Over his last 10 games, Maybin is hitting at a .417 clip. The on-base percentage is .422. His .883 on-base plus slugging in 139 at-bats with theZephyrs is 294 points higher than what he totaled in 84 turns with the Marlins.

Do the Marlins need him right now since they’re winning? Is he better served continuing to rake at Triple-A and coming back in September?

Of course, this subject has been handled by a far more reputable source of baseball knowledge in the recent past, but it’s worth revisiting once again. Maybin has torn up Triple-A since his demotion in early May, batting .319/.410/.452, good for a .389 wOBA. More impressive than perhaps even this is his increased plate discipline. Maybin has walked 11.8% of the time while striking out a mere 16.3%, a far cry from his 31.8% last year in Double-A and 36.9% in the majors this season. However this comes with the caveat that he’s only had 153 plate appearances in Triple-A, so this constitute a long hot streak in response to his demotion.

The Marlins however, don’t really have the time to find out, as Rodriguez notes. But when he asks the legitimate question of where to fit Maybin in the lineup, he once again brings up the most dreaded of dreaded topics.

It’s not as simple a question as whether the Maybin is ready for another go at it. Howdo the Marlins accommodate him? When Maybin returns Cody Ross has to move to left or right. Chris Coghlan has done nothing to merit a change in his situation, so that would leave right field for Ross.

…I know the popular solution among Marlins fans is to remove Emilio Bonifacio from third, bring in Coghlan to play there and create the outfield opening for Maybin that way. Coghlan did play 11 games at third for New Orleans this season, but he only made 10 starts there in Double-A in 2008.

Is a Coghlan, LF; Maybin CF; Ramirez, SS; Cantu, 1B; Uggla, 2B; Baker, C; Ross RF; Bonifacio, 3B lineup better than what they’re currently running out there?

I’m having a really hard time believing Rodriguez is of sane mind and agrees with the rest of us that replacing Emilio Bonifacio at third base is the best move to start helping this team. It’s one thing to believe that Bonifacio realistically won’t be moved off of third base by management, but it’s another to completely dismiss the idea as simply “the popular solution among Marlins fans.” Does he think it’s just “popular,” or does he know it’s also correct?

The argument for Coghlan being moved to third and being inexperienced at the position is ridiculous. Coghlan played third base in college along with the twenty games mentioned in the piece. Let it also be known that Coghlan had not played outfield professionally until arriving with the Marlins in May. If inexperience wasn’t a problem moving to the admittedly easier left field, it really shouldn’t be a problem moving to the far more familiar third base.

I think Rodriguez has the same man-crush on Bonifacio that the important people in the Marlins organization do, and it is preventing solid analysis. Anyone can see moving Maybin to center, Ross to right, Hermida to left, Coghlan to third, and Bonifacio to AA would make the team better, just in getting rid of Bonifacio’s atrocious bat.

The most likely situation is that the Marlins will not bring Maybin up now. Given his struggles earlier in the season, I think Fish management thinks if they brought him up again and he struggles, it would significantly hinder his development. I think the time to make a move is now. With Cody Ross out there, you have the luxury of a guy who is passable in three outfield positions. With Brett Carroll you have a serviceable outfielder with plus defensive prowess. You can get Maybin in the lineup four or so days a week and rest him in favor of Carroll the other times. Maybin will likely improve the outfield’s defense and may even cause an improvement in infield defense if Coghlan performs well at third. Maybin may not be entirely ready, but the Marlins don’t really have time to figure out if he is. In the thick of a division race this tight, you need all your best tools in the majors, and one of the Marlins’ best 25 guys is likely Maybin.

Tags: Brett Carroll Cameron Maybin Chris Coghlan Cody Ross Emilio Bonifacio FanGraphs Jeremy Hermida Juan C. Rodriguez Miami Marlins

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