In an offseason when Al Avila has reshaped the parts of the Detroit Tigers roster, one of the general manager’s first moves was acquiring outfielder Cameron Maybin.
Maybin, the former top prospect who was shipped to Florida in the incredibly lopsided Miguel Cabrera trade, spent last season with the Atlanta Braves. The outfielder also spent time with the Marlins and in San Diego. However, his career has now come full circle.
Back with the organization that drafted him, Maybin will slot in somewhere in the outfield for manager Brad Ausmus. With Detroit expected to contend, one of the newest Tigers will be in a much different situation than he was in with the 67-95 Braves.
Here’s what to expect from Cameron Maybin in his return to the Motor City.
Where He’ll Hit
Maybin predominantly hit second in the Atlanta batting order in 2015. In addition to hitting second, the outfielder also saw at-bats hitting first, fifth and eighth.
With the exception of the fifth spot in the lineup, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the right-handed hitter bat in similar places in the lineup.
One probable scenario would see Maybin batting leadoff with Ian Kinsler hitting second. This scenario would have the former Marlin hit in front of the four-headed monster comprised of Kinsler, Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez. That scenario would certainly benefit Maybin, who has stolen over 20 bases in three of the last five years.
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Baseball Reference predicts that the right-handed hitting outfielder will hit .255 with 19 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 49 RBI, 15 stolen bases and a .682 OPS.
While the numbers don’t register as eye popping, they are par for the course. Maybin has hit nine, eight and 10 home runs in his only three seasons as a regular. He’s also never reached the 60 RBI plateau, so 49 RBI could be an accurate prediction.
Hopefully he can produce like he did with the Braves. In 2015, the outfielder hit .267 with 10 home runs, 18 doubles, 23 stolen bases and 59 RBI. He also did all this while hitting in front of the likes of Freddie Freeman, A.J. Pierzynski and Nick Markakis. Should Maybin hit leadoff with the Tigers, he’ll do so ahead of run-producing machines like Kinsler and Cabrera. There is definite optimism that the 28-year-old can build off his breakout season in a more potent lineup.
What Position He’ll Play
It’s not clear if Maybin or Gose will receive the lion’s share of at-bats in center field.
However, Maybin may start in center due to Gose being better suited in left. The 28-year-old, former top prospect has played ten more games Major League games in left field than you have, and Gose’s defensive metrics are much better.
The Tigers’ official website lists Maybin as the starter in center field and Gose as the starter in left field. Baring a major addition (hello Yoenis Cespedes or Alex Gordon) it seems like that will be the likely arrangement heading into the season.
If all goes to plan, Cameron Maybin will be a solid contributor for the Detroit Tigers as a speedy leadoff hitter who doubles as a solid defender. While he’s only posted a WAR over two twice in his career, the talent surrounding Maybin should make him a dependable player.