Trying to temper excitement about Maybin


Last night, Cameron Maybin put up four hits, including two line drive doubles, against the Philadelphia Phillies as part of a 7-2 win. That performance brought Maybin’s season batting line up to .257/.328/.419, an impressive feat given that he left us on May 10 with a .202/.280/.310 line. On the month, Cameron has hit .313/.376/.530 in 95 PA, a marked improvement over his first month or so in the majors with Florida.

Cameron Maybin's been hot this month, and figures to be a part of the Marlins' future.

Where has he improved? Where do we start? In 93 PA, Maybin has drawn nine walks and struck out only 18 times, compared to the eight walks and 31 strikeouts he recorded in his first 93 PA of the season. While I can’t be sure (i.e. I haven’t yet done the research) on whether this a significant approach change or just an issue of teams not pitching to him, I can say that given how poorly he was hitting early in the season, it’s unlikely that teams decided to drop their old pitching habits to him. He’s swinging at pitches like a league average hitter, so there’s not a whole lot to complain. This is likely a little high for a walk rate for Maybin, but if his pitch recognition and contact can improve a little bit, his strikeouts will go down and he’ll be a slightly better player.

What we were missing when the season started was power, and he’s flashed it so far in his second stint up. In those 95 PA, he’s recorded 11 extra-base hits, including three home runs. Compare that to six extra-baggers he got when he was up here first. What’s ironic is that while he was down in the minors, he was not performing in terms of power. In 342 PA this season in Triple-A New Orleans, Maybin only had 23 extra-base hits and two home runs when his raw stats are translated to major league equivalents, according to Minor League Splits. This is a bit less than major league average in terms of extra-baggers, but iat this point it could be an expected result for Maybin. Despite his more towering major league shots, it appears as if he’s still developing his power; currently, he’s still mostly a line-drive hitter, which isn’t terrible, especially given Maybin’s speed.

But let’s not get too excited. Maybin’s posted these numbers this month on the back of a .412 BABIP, which is a monstrous number just waiting to regress. The better contact has been a good sign, but it doesn’t mean that he’ll hit this well all of next year; a month is too little in terms of sample size to say anything definitive. I ran a quick projection using his major league numbers and major league equivalents of his minor league stats and got an expected wOBA of .316, which is around 8.5 runs below average over the course of 620 PA. This doesn’t project any growth over the offseason as Maybin gets older, and you would suspect a 24-year old to get better instead of worse, but we’ve seen problem players before (see Hermida, Jeremy) and I don’t want to get my hopes up too early. Neither should you. Let’s temper our excitement a bit. Even at this projection I have Maybin being worth about 1.5 WAR at center field, adequate but below average, certainly valuable though. Let’s not try to stick too high an expectation on the kid early.

Tags: Cameron Maybin Miami Marlins

  • Stan Makowski

    Michael,
    Two comments concerning your blog above. I don’t know whether or not it affects you calculations, but Maybin will be 23, not 24 next year. Second, to my way of thinking, Maybin will essentially be replacing Hermida’s offensive production (or lack thereof) next year. It shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish that. I am more worried about his defense. I think he plays too deeply in CF, goes back on a ball poorly, and frequently seens uncertain as to where to throw the ball when he fields a multi-base hit. Lastly, although much faster than Cody Ross, he definitely gets a poorer “jump” on the ball. All of that being said, we simply must give him every chance to win the CF job next year.

    Boy, would I like to hear from you and other readers about the idea of replacing Gonzalez with Bobby Valentine. Unfortunately, no one really has a chance to show improvement unless Loria lets a few of the moths out of his wallet.

  • michaeljong

    Stan,

    I’ll put some thoughts up about Valentine soon, but I doubt it would make a big difference. I’m not a big “managers are an important part of the team” thing. I figure if Valentine is decent (that is, if he can tell who the best position player is at each position and who to throw out there from the pen in a given situation), he may be worth an added win or so over the season above Fredi.

    Thanks for the correction Stan, that should be even better for Maybin. I did not project using a year adjustment (haven’t learned that yet), but I’d suspect we could bump his wOBA up a little bit, to .325 or so, and that would make him like a 1.8 WAR player, close to average. Not bad at all.

    As far as his defense is concerned, I haven’t seen him live or often enough to tell the scouting side of it, but his numbers look solid. He’s been basically average at the position all year long, between the majors and minors, according to the stats. We’ve gone ahead and done a lot worse than that with Hermida. As I mentioned before, if we stick a halfway decent outfielder and maybe platoon him with Carroll, then move Coghlan back into the infield, I’d suspect we could see a massive improvement over this past season’s outfield. Let’s hope it works out that way.

    Oh, and I have the PERFECT guy to sign this offseason for just the role I talked about. More on that guy a little later as well.

  • Stan Makowski

    Michael,
    Gload can play the OF and has done so. However, Posnanski’s evaluation of him when with KC seems to hold true. He said that if you want to hurt Gload, play him regularly. I really want Couglan in the IF next year and a tandem of Carroll and a lefthanded hitter would be great. I tried to think of someone who would be good in the clubhouse, is lefthanded, is a very good outfielder and above all would not frighten Loria away with his salary. Came up with Mark Kotsay. However, I’d still take Milton Bradley for a year or until Morrison or Mike Stanton is ready. Somehow I don’t think that Wes Helms would let him get away with some of his shannigans. I think it was you who doesn’t like DeAsa but I’d try him if need be. Then Coughlan could hit #2 where he really belongs.

    I do think that a mgr has an effect upon performance. There is the morale factor, the educational factor that in now necessary with players arriving in majors essentially unschooled in fundamentals (there are organizational exceptions, but that would take a page or two), and choice of coaches can also be critical. If I may be a cynical SOB for a minute, you should pass on your thoughts to the fellow that Jim Tracy replaced. It might make him feel better. Yea, it’s a lousy crack, but it does strengthen my position. I don’t think we can judge Gonzalez as we would other managers because he is a puppet. I lived in NY when Valentine was manager and loved him. However, if Gerardi clashed with Loria, Valentine might go after him with a knife. He wasn’t fond of front office interference.

    Can’t wait to hear whom you would like Ms to acquire. And it would be fun for all of us readers to speculate on who will stay and who will go this offseason. I think one thing we could all agree on is that the Ms are blessed with Larry Beinfest and I for one am confident that he will do as well as Loria will let him. But I sure miss the Hammer. To me, he was the present day Conine.

  • michaeljong

    Stan,

    I too miss Hammer, he was consistently good at the plate and didn’t kill you in the field, despite his appearance as a lumbering guy. And I’d love for everyone to speculate on who I’ve got in mind for the Marlins to acquire this offseason. A hint: he’s defense-oriented (VERY defense-oriented) and has been a bench player most of his career. He is a lefty hitter as well.

    I’m sure Tracy’s done a decent job in Colorado, but I can’t agree that because the team got hot when he came in, the reason for their success was him. Hurdle got fired fairly early and the team happened to get hot. As I recall, they were hot two years ago under Hurdle, and he didn’t seem to be bad manager then. In fact, the only significant difference I saw in Hurlde/Tracy is that Tracy moved Clint Barmes up in the order to second while dropping Tulowitzki, even though Tulo is probably the team’s second best hitter.

    This isn’t a jab at Tracy, I just have a hard time buying the idea that a managerial change has the effect that the Rockies showed this season. Is it really Tracy that improved the team’s batting average by 19 points? I don’t know. He probably had some effect, but it wasn’t a 30% swing in win% like their pre- and post-Tracy records show. Anyone else care back to me up on that?

  • DavidC

    Actually, most of the Rockies fans that I’ve talked to say that it was the pitching more than the hitting that fell into place and was the reason for the big surge, but the hitting certainly didn’t hurt. The manager does have more control over pitching than hitting since he decides when to pull the starter, who to bring in from the bullpen, etc, and from what I understand, the main difference between Tracy and Hurdle was that Hurdle was pulling starters too early and leaving relievers in too long. But, that’s just what I’ve heard.

  • michaeljong

    DavidC,

    Thanks for the insight on the Rockies. I know their pitching has been great this year (best in the NL, after some park adjustments), and you’re right on the manager having better control over pitching. I’ve considered something about Jim Tracy and looking into his bullpen management, this idea might show up one way or another over at BtB.

    Anyone got guesses for who I’ve got in mind for the Marlins? I promise I’ll write up a piece later in the week, after I do my season reviews and/or offseason task list.

  • Stan Makowski

    Michael,
    No idea on your selection. However, remember he can’t be expensive. Personally, I would go ater pitching coach Duncan of St. Louis. A mid-level free agent could be of moderate help. But Duncan at same or less money could help many pitchers and he has the track record to prove it. I still like Mark Kotsay. One other point, who are you going to sit if a full time player is acquired? Personally, with maturation and better leadership. I think the Ms can win next year as presently constituted with a little help in the OF. Especially with the late season showing of Von de Whatever and Sanchez. And I loved the improvement in West’s breaking ball in his last few starts. I don’t know who you want, but if Hermida and Miller would get him, I’m all for it.

  • michaeljong

    Stan,

    The guy I’m thinking of will be a free agent this season, so no need to trade. And because his value is derived primarily outside of offense, I’m guessing he’ll be undervalued. However, since I think our team is a bit behind the times in terms of advanced analysis, another club with a better saber track record might snag him before we consider him. As far as a regular to sit, I planned on platooning him and, since I suspect Hermida will be gone, there will be a spot open.

  • Anton

    Randy Winn! I’d want Crawford but Rays will surely exercise…

  • michaeljong

    Anton,

    Welcome to the Marlin Maniac comments section! Winn is actually a name I had forgotten, in part because of his advanced age. But he’s proven that he’s ridiculous in the corner outfield spots, and he’s only one season removed from a halfway decent offensive performance, so he’s someone to consider. Thanks!

    You were definitely on the right track, but that was not the guy I was thinking of. Keep guessing folks!

  • Anton

    Thanks Mike! I’ve been lurking on here for a while now. My favorite Marlins blog of the three!

    Thought about this too much for the past half hour.
    Has to be Endy Chavez. And superficially, he seems to be the man, unless of course, Cameron’s article over at FanGraphs is read by enterprising GMs.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/free-agent-bargain-endy-chavez

  • Michael Jong

    Anton,

    Congrats, you got the right man for the job, Anton! Chavez would be perfect for the team, since he can provide value without the Marlins paying much! Check out the article on the front page for more complete analysis.