Should Maybin Join Hundley in Tucson?


A little over a week ago, Nick Hundley was demoted to Triple-A Tucson because of his inability to hit on a consistent basis through 70+ games this season.  Hundley might have been the first big name Friar to be demoted in 2012, but there is another guy on the roster whose lack of productivity at the plate and performance overall might put him in line to join Hundley in the Old Pueblo.  Because we have hit the halfway point in the regular season, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss Cameron Maybin’s 2012 Offensive numbers, whether he should lose playing time, and whether or not he should be sent down to the minors.

Maybin’s 2012 Offensive Output

After a strong finish to the 2011 season, it finally appeared that Cameron Maybin was ready to have a breakout season in 2012 and eventually begin to scratch the surface of his highly touted potential.  Unfortunately for Maybin, the dream of a career season has turned into a nightmare, and it has looked like the rather large investment the club made in him this offseason was yet another wrong move by this pathetic franchise.  Maybin’s lack of production has been slightly covered up by the dismal seasons’ produced by Hundley, Jason Bartlett, and Orlando Hudson, but anybody who has watched the Padres this season knows about Maybin and his issues at the plate.

In 77 Games and 276 At-Bats, Maybin is carrying a .207 Batting Average, has logged only 15 Extra Base Hits (7 Doubles, 4 Triples, and 4 Home Runs), and only driven in 24 runs.  Once thought to be San Diego’s answer at the leadoff spot, Maybin’s lack of production and low numbers in three important categories have all but doomed him to hitting near the bottom of the order.  Maybin’s .285 On-Base Percentage and .304 Slugging Percentage rank as some of the lowest for position players on the team and in the National League in general.  A significant part of Maybin’s low On-Base Percentage, and why he has been all but demoted from leadoff duties can stem largely from his lack of plate discipline and overall lowly Walk to Strikeout ratio.

Entering last night, Maybin Walked 28 times but Struck Out a whopping 65!  For the record, Strikeout numbers bother me.  In fact,  I can live with Chase Headley‘s relatively high Strikeout numbers.  Even though Chase has whiffed a team high 79 times, he leads the team in Walks (49), and ranks among baseball’s best in said category, and his ability to get on base more often helps to offset his Strikeout totals.  Maybin on the other hand is set to eclipse his once career high of 125 (set last season) in the Strikeouts category.

With all of that said, it would only make sense to demote Maybin if there was somebody to take his place in the Outfield and in the lineup on a consistent basis.  However, I believe that the Padres have a perfect person on their roster to step in for Maybin.  A player that not only deserves the extra At-Bats, but one which has played solid baseball since coming to the team three seasons ago: Chris Denorfia.

Denorfia’s 2012 Offensive Output and Play Makes Him Worthy of More At-Bats

In a platoon role at times with Will Venable this season, Denorfia has simply stepped up when his number has been called and produced for the team.  And as I alluded to in a previous post from a couple of weeks ago, Denorfia’s offensive output makes him deserving of more playing time.  Over 183 At-Bats in platoon and spot duty, Denorfia has put up a .306 Batting Average, logged only 1 less Hit than Maybin (56), clubbed 13 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, and driven in 12 Runs to boot.  And while Maybin has struggled to get on base and subsequently keep his Strikeouts down in 2012, Denorfia has done just the opposite this year.  Denorfia’s On-Base Percentage is a decent .365, his Slugging Percentage is a respectable .443, and best of all, his Walk to Strikeout ratio is a stellar 16 to 22.

As far as Defense goes, Maybin has the edge over Denorfia.  But in spite of the fact that Denorfia cannot roam the Centerfield grass as well as Maybin, and does not possess the defensive prowess of a player with Maybin’s athleticism, he is still no slouch with the leather.  Denorfia can in fact and has played all three Outfield spots for the Padres over his career in San Diego, and he has yet to commit an Error this season through 65 games, and 395.0 Innings of work.  If Denorfia did take Maybin’s place though, a scenario which would likely occur would be one where we see Will Venable shifting to Centerfield and Denorfia moving to Venable’s spot in Right, a spot where he has logged the most playing time this season.

Final Thoughts

While demoting Maybin outright like Hundley might not be the answer, it should at least be an option on the franchise’s minds.  Most guys hitting just above .200 with On-Base Percentages below .300 at the major league level are either part time players, or guys which belong in Triple-A to work out the kinks in their game.  Even if Maybin is not demoted, he should at least lose playing time to the combination of Denorfia and Venable until he gets himself straight at the plate.  Another scenario which might work if the Padres decide to keep Maybin but limit his At-Bats is the platooning of Venable and Maybin in Centerfield and keeping Denorfia in Rightfield if he continues to produce at his current pace.

Who knows?  Maybe a demotion or a lack of playing time will inspire Maybin to play better.  If he steps his game up, great, if he continues to flounder or does not take a possible demotion to Tucson well, then so be it.  The Padres have issues scoring Runs, and they need all the consistent production out of their lineup that they can get.  It makes little sense as to why San Diego would continue to trot a guy hitting below the Mendoza Line out to Centerfield, when just as capable if not more capable option is sitting on their bench.  Whatever the franchise and coaching staff choose to do with Maybin is their own decision, and they know much better than me what is working and what does not.  However, they recently drew a line with Nick Hundley in terms of his lack of offensive output and sent him down.  Thus, I am curious as to how far Maybin’s numbers can sink before he starts to lose At-Bats and playing time.  With these things in mind, a stint in Tucson could very well be in Maybin’s future if he continues his offensive tailspin.

What do you readers think?  Should Maybin be demoted?  Should the team let him play through his slump?  Is “Deno” Worthy of more playing time?  The floor is yours.

Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference and ESPN