How Cameron Maybin Is Finally Playing to His Full Potential
For Cameron Maybin, potential was never the question.
However, Maybin has surpassed 100 games played in just two of his eight Major League seasons. Now that he is seeing consistent at-bats, he is currently reminding baseball fans of his amazing potential as the centerfielder for the Atlanta Braves.
Maybin is currently showing great improvements in his line drive rate and plate discipline. He’s on pace to finish the season with a career best in multiple categories and this looks to be a result of much better contact.
To get a better idea for his current improvements, it’s only reasonable to compare his stats with his relatively full seasons in 2011 and 2012, the two seasons in which he played more than 100 games.
Maybin has never been much of a power hitter, but he’s well on his way to have a double-digit season in home runs as well as steals. The last time he was this close to doing something like this was in 2012 when he played the most games of his career (147) with the Padres and finished with 8 home runs and 26 steals.
Here are Maybin’s current peripherals compared with 2011 and 2012.
These are are all career bests for Maybin and that’s including his current BABIP of .349. Having a career high in BABIP isn’t something you like to see when a player is having one of his best seasons because it makes the results seem lucky.
Batted Ball Statistics
Maybin currently has the highest line drive percentage (LD%) of his career with a rate of 26.9%. He had a rate of 29.2% in 2008 with the Marlins, but that was only in 32 at-bats, so that can’t be a point of reference. He’s never been remotely close to his current rate, so this is something to keep an eye on throughout the season.
Here’s his LD% from 2011, 2012 and 2015, showing his drastic increase.
Not only is Maybin hitting line drives more frequently, he is also putting his line drives all over the field.
The takeaway from this batted ball breakdown is to provide reasoning for Maybin’s current offensive production. An increased LD% definitely helps explain his recent success.
It’s difficult to label this season as a breakout since he’s been in the league since 2007, but hopefully we may be seeing the full potential of Maybin this season.
Improved Plate Discipline
In the three years being analyzed, Maybin has been able to improve his ability to take walks and limit his strikeouts. He’s increased his walk rate from 7.7% to 7.8% and now a current rate of 10%. His current strikeout rate has also improved from 22.0% to 19.6% and now sits at 18.4%.
His ability to get on base via walks and fewer strikeouts looks to be a direct result of his decreased swinging strike rate that has plummeted from 12.3% and 9.1% to a current rate of 7.6%.
Splits & Situational Hitting
Maybin currently has a huge disparity in his splits this year, and it favors his success versus right-handed pitchers. He’s always hit righties better than lefties, but this year the level of success is more prominent. His current success against righties is the best it’s ever been and could see some regression.
Maybin has also increased his level of success with runners on base and scoring position thus far. In comparison to 2011 and 2012, he’s drastically improved in every category of his peripherals.
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It’s hard to say what the definitive reasoning is for his exceptional performance with runners in scoring position, but he’s proving to be invaluable to the Braves’ lineup.
It’s great to see Maybin having such a great season thus far because of the potential he’s capable of. Each team has been hoping to have this level of production on a consistent basis, but it’s been difficult because of his injury history
Anticipate some slight regression in his BABIP, but most of the regression should be in his LD% since it’s unbelievably high for him. With the LD% league average being 21.1% and his being 27.7%, there likely will be some regression.
Assuming Maybin stays healthy, he’s going to have a career year for the Braves. They were hoping they'd get the ceiling of potential we’ve all been waiting for, and they’re definitely getting that so far.