Over a decade ago, the Detroit Tigers selected Cameron Maybin 10th overall. Since then the 30-year-old has bounced around, never finding his niche with an organization — until now. When the Los Angeles Angels dealt for Maybin, they believed they had solved their woes in left field. Little did they know he’d become a diamond in the rough for LA.
Before arriving in Anaheim, Maybin was a vital piece in the trade that sent him to the Florida Marlins as part of the Miguel Cabrera trade. Unable to find his footing in South Florida, Maybin saw himself heading to the San Diego Padres. In his first season with San Diego, he showed promise, posting a batting average of .264 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs.
However, his production trended downwards, and after four seasons in San Diego, Maybin was traded again, this time to the Atlanta Braves. In Atlanta, his career rejuvenated by putting together career highs in homers (10) and RBIs (59). It appeared as though he had found a home, but Atlanta dealt him for his second tour of duty with Detroit.
In Detroit, Maybin appeared in 94 games, registering career highs in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. Nonetheless, these career highs weren’t enough as Maybin saw yet another trade involving his name as Detroit sent him to the Angels.
Maybin Finds His Groove in LA
Maybin got off to a slow start this season; his average sat at .189 with a respectable OBP (.307) and horrible SLG (.250). However, after moving into the leadoff role, his production has soared for LA. In 24 games since the switch, Maybin’s batting .389 with five home runs, 10 RBIs, and 30 runs scored.
Furthermore, Maybin’s offensive outbreak couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, with reigning MVP Mike Trout on the disabled list. Instead of suffering a free fall, LA remains within striking distance of a wild-card spot thanks to the surge Maybin and others have seen with Trout out of the lineup.
Aside from Trout, Maybin has turned himself into a vital member of LA’s offensive attack. Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is one stat I’ll be using to indicate the value of Maybin’s offensive game. After starting the season with a .258 wOBA, since May 1 his wOBA has been .397 in 38 games, putting his overall mark at .354.
In essence, every traditional and advanced stat has improved over the last 38 games. Maybin has attributed his success to the approach he has taken at the plate. Furthermore, here’s a comparison of Maybin’s walk rate to the league average over the past two seasons. This visual shows that he’s taken a more walk-friendly approach at the plate. On another note, with his walks going up, Maybin’s strikeout rate has dipped.
As a result, the Angels appear to have solved their left field woes. Since Garrett Anderson‘s departure, the left side of the diamond has turned into a revolving door of names. Names such as Josh Hamilton, David DeJesus, and others trotted out onto the field; all failed to become a longterm solution.
Other Aspects of His Game
Although Maybin’s offensive production has soared in his first season in Anaheim, his defensive game could use some work. Taking a look at his Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), it sits at 1.3, which is close to league average. However, with the Angels having a rotating cast of fielders in left, an average fielder is good.
Another defensive stat that shows a weakness in his game is Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). The league average for DRS starts at zero, so Maybin’s -1 is slightly below average. Nevertheless, with the team patching together their starting rotation, Maybin’s defense is critical. Maybin does have aspects of his game that need tweaking, but the Angels caught a break in the trade, acquiring a fielder with a chip on his shoulder.
One aspect of Maybin’s game that doesn’t need any tweaking would be his base running. For someone in his 30s, his ability to swipe bases is trending upwards rather than declining. Maybin currently leads the American League in stolen bases with 23 and is fourth overall in the SB category.
Maybin has delievered more than what LA had hope for, especially when the price turned out to be struggling minor league pitcher Victor Alcantara. As for Maybin, after eight full seasons in the majors, he appears to have found a home. With the All-Star Game coming up in Miami, it wouldn’t surprise some if he heads back to another stomping ground next month.