Although it is definitely good news to know that Maybin might be on the road to recovery, I still have one very important question to ask:
How much playing time will he receive in the Padres’ “crowded outfield” once he eventually comes off of the disabled list?
If he does recover from his right wrist issue relatively soon, Maybin will definitely have his work cut out for him. In fact, the center fielder will probably have to leap-frog a multitude of players on San Diego’s depth chart if he wants to get back into the mix for some playing time when he returns.
For instance, the always consistent Chris Denorfia has been his “quietly productive-self” through the first month of the regular season. Over his first 28 games, Denorfia has been quite the stable “table-setter” for the Friars.
So far, Denorfia has hit .302 (29 for 96), has posted a .374 on-base percentage, and is tied for the team lead in runs scored (16). “Deno” has also clubbed eight doubles and two home runs in addition to the 10 he has knocked in to boot. San Diego’s versatile outfielder has definitely proved once again that he is worthy of a starting gig in the outfield, and his ability to play all three positions should make him a lynch-pin in the Friars’ every-day lineup.
While Denorfia’s success comes as little surprise to many, Kyle Blanks’ recent productivity has been downright solid and shocking. After Blanks missed 230+ regular season games from 2010-2012, the power-hitting outfielder has taken advantage of his extended chances to shine over the first month of the 2013 regular season. Used as a platoon-player against left-handed pitching, Kyle has enjoyed a successful start in his most recent return.
Overall, Blanks has hit .293 (12 for 41), smacked two doubles, hit one home run, knocked in five runs, and has even managed to score another five on his own. When healthy, Kyle is a viable power-threat in San Diego’s lineup and he can play either of the corner outfield positions as well. As long as Blanks can stay off of the disabled list, he will definitely be an important part of the Friars’ success this year.
Although veterans Carlos Quentin (.183 batting average, two home runs, nine rbi’s) and Will Venable (.216 batting average, three home runs, 10 rbi’s) have struggled somewhat to begin their 2013 campaigns, they will also be in the hunt for playing time with Denorfia and Blanks through the summer. The left-handed Venable definitely hits right-handed pitching much better than Maybin, and Quentin is a far bigger power threat than the center fielder is as well.
Venable definitely had an impressive series against the Diamondbacks over the weekend, and he is always an option at a corner outfield spot whenever the Friars face a right-handed starter. While Quentin’s knee has been gimpy, his plate-discipline and power still should earn him at-bats if he is able to play in left field.
In addition to Denorfia, Blanks, Quentin, and Venable, I certainly will not discount Alexi Amarista and Jesus Guzman as potential competition for Maybin when he returns either. The versatile Amarista can help out at all three outfield spots in addition to second base, while Guzman can chip in and help in left field and right field.
I certainly hope that Maybin is able to not only realize his potential upon his return, but that he can also live up to the big extension (five-years $25 million) he signed last spring.
Unfortunately for Cameron, his time on the bench coupled with his competition’s recent success will not make things easy for him once he eventually returns from the disabled list. San Diego’s outfield could be a bit too crowded come the summertime, and Maybin might be forced to “grab some pine” behind Denorfia, Blanks, Quentin, and Venable.