While he looked like somewhat of a throw in from the Craig Kimbrel trade that took place the day before the season started, the Braves knew they had some potential in centerfield in Cameron Maybin and he has shown that potential over his first 100 plate appearances in Atlanta.
Prior to this year, Maybin has been ravished with a number of injuries that have resulted in poor offensive years in each of the past three seasons. While it is just 100 times to the plate, Maybin has looked like a much different and much better offensive player than he has in the past, including his breakout 2011 campaign in which he hit nine home runs and stole 40 bases.
Over at the “Braves General Store,” Stephen Brown wrote a great post by utilizing the StatCast tool detailing how Maybin has actually been unfortunate with batted balls. He has been hitting the ball off the bat at an extremely high velocity and because of that, his BABIP and batting average should be higher. Stephen wrote the article on May 13, when Maybin’s average was at .229. Currently, Maybin’s average sits at .255, so maybe Stephen was on to something.
The power that Maybin showed in the first few weeks was likely an aberration, as he simply does not hit enough fly balls to keep up with a 15-20 home run pace. He will luck into a few home runs here and there but should not be counted on as a power source, though it should be noted that he’s not a Ben Revere type either.
The Braves have previously been running Maybin out there in the eight hole, but last night they ran him out in the second spot of the lineup which is a very appealing place to be from a fantasy perspective. Jace Peterson, while he has limited power, has shown good on base skills and the best hitter on the team, Freddie Freeman, hits third. Maybin should see a good deal of run scoring opportunities if he keeps his walk rate up and continues to hit the ball hard, as Stepehen detailed in his post.
Currently, ZiPS projects Maybin to hit .248/.314/.379 for the rest of the year, along with five home runs and 11 steals. The key to that is that the projections are basing that off of 81 games played, essentially half a year of baseball. So, if you assume he played 162 that’s a 10 home run, 22 steal pace, which pretty much any fantasy team could use.
Maybin is still just 28-years-old, though it feels like he has been around forever. There is a non-zero chance that he has potential left in him that has yet to show. In a good lineup spot with regular playing time, Maybin looks like one of the better waiver wire targets out there given his potential speed upside. I will not assume he is a 118 wRC+ player all year, but he is hitting the ball very hard and utilizing his speed when he gets on the bases. Take a flier on him and maybe you will end up with the 2011 Maybin who saved a lot of people’s fantasy seasons.