Should Cameron Maybin Lose Playing Time?

The subject of my last post was Yasmani Grandal and why I felt that San Diego should call him back up to the big leagues.  One of the biggest reasons why I thought Grandal deserved an extended shot (besides his awesome production in Triple-A) was the fact that Nick Hundley and John Baker were simply not producing at a high enough level at the plate.  Outside of Hundley, Cameron Maybin has also struggled mightily as a hitter so far this season, and there are some Padres fans which are beginning to lose patience with him and his lack of production.  So today I would like to discuss Maybin, his productivity so far this season, and whether or not I believe that some of his playing time should be given to others on the team.

 

Cameron Maybin's offensive production has been less than stellar this season. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Maybin’s Terrible Start to 2012

I understand that Maybin is one of San Diego’s most athletically gifted players and at 25 still has a great deal of upside.  In addition, I know that he signed a lucrative contract before the season began, and should figure into the team’s long-term plans.  However, Maybin’s offensive output this season has left much to be desired.  In fact, for a guy projected to be a force in San Diego’s leadoff spot, the first three months have been nothing short of a nightmare for Maybin:

In 61 games and 217 At-Bats, a .207 Batting Average is almost unacceptable, and it would be bad enough that only Maybin’s Batting Average would be this low.  Yet it has been Maybin’s lack of production in many categories which a leadoff hitter (and a solid overall hitter) must excel in which has left many fans like myself dumbfounded and wondering when he will eventually improve: Maybin’s On-Base Percentage is .290, his On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage is .603, and his Walk to Strikeout Ratio is 24 to 48!

To his credit, Maybin has stolen 14 bases in 16 chances and can fly around the bases and put pressure on the Defense.  Plus, there are few players which can make as many spectacular plays as he does in Centerfield.  Nevertheless, a .290 On-Base Percentage is unacceptable for a player with Maybin’s skill-set, and makes the Stolen Base statistic almost moot because of the fact that he gets on base at such a low rate.  Then when you factor in how Maybin has Struck Out twice for every Walk he has worked in 2012, and you have a recipe for a down statistical output.  Thus, in my personal opinion, Maybin has not done enough during the first one-third plus of the season to hold down his starting job in Centerfield on a day in and day out basis.

 

So Who Steps Up?

I am sure at this point that some of you are asking: “If Maybin has some playing time taken away, who will fill in for him?”  Well, to me there is only one logical answer to said question, and that is super-sub Chris Denorfia who deserves at least a chance to receive more playing time and compete with Maybin for it in the process.

Granted, Denorfia does not possess the speed on the base-paths or ability to play Centerfield like Maybin can.  Yet what Denorfia can do and has done during his career in San Diego is produce in all facets of the game on a decent and consistent basis.  This season has been no different, and where Maybin has struggled (at the plate), Denorfia has maintained a steady offensive output when his number has been called in 2012:

In 149 At-Bats, Chris has hit .282, logged a .436 Slugging Percentage, and a .784 On-Base plus Slugging Percentage.  Most importantly though, Denorfia has put up an impressive 14 to 18 Walk to Strikeout ratio, a .356 On-Base Percentage, and has even clubbed more Extra Base Hits than Maybin has this season in 68 less At-Bats (16 to 13).

While Will Venable has taken over as the regular leadoff hitter this season, Denorfia still can provide good At-Bats and decent production from the #2, #6, #7, and #8 slots in the batting order.  Furthermore, Denorfia can play all three Outfield spots and is an average to above-average option for the Padres to go to with the glove also.  As it stands now, Denorfia’s production so far this year should speak for itself, and while he might not overtake Maybin for the starting job in Centerfield, he at least deserves some extra At-Bats and some more spot starts here and there because he is currently producing.

 

Final Thoughts

I actually do have faith that Maybin will be able to turn things around in the second half of the season.  He is probably the Padres’ best all-around player in terms of his athleticism and he has shown flashes of terrific play at times over the last year and a half.  I certainly will be rooting hard for him to get back on the right track, because the team really needs him.  Nevertheless, in the present, Maybin is not the guy that is hitting and producing, Denorfia is.  And with Carlos Quentin healthy, and Venable producing on a consistent enough basis, there is only one Outfield spot open.

As I explained before in the Grandal article, 2012 might as well be a lost season for San Diego in terms of their chances for postseason contention.  But because of the Padres location in the N.L. West cellar, they have the rest of the season to experiment with their roster and find out which guys they can count on moving forward and which players figure in to be future pieces of their team in the future.  The pressure is now on Maybin to pick up his game before the season ends.  2012 was supposed to be his year to shine and emerge as the team’s best all-around player.  Unfortunately, it does not appear to be the case as we are nearing the middle of the Summer months.  Hopefully Maybin can begin to hit consistently.  Otherwise the Padres might be better served in giving Denorfia more chances to shine.

 

 

Now it is your turn readers: Should Maybin sit a few games here and there?  Should Black let him continue to start?  Does Denorfia deserve more chances?  Let me know.

 

Statistics Courtesy of: Baseball Reference and ESPN

Topics: 2012 Season, Cameron Maybin, Chris Denorfia

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