Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maybin or maybe?

Cameron Maybin is a tremendous center fielder. Says who? Bud Black, for one. No hemming, no hawing. Tremendous, and Pepe Negro knows tremendous. An ace center fielder will earn his paychecks in the National League West, where the pasturelands are Great Plains-sized. But, hold on now. If Maybin is tremendous, why did the Marlins trade him? Answer: As much as the Marlins liked his work ethic, they didn't think Maybin a super center fielder. "He's insanely raw," a Marlins man told me. Exhale now. "Insanely raw" doesn't mean bad. Far from it, because Maybin has so many other things going for him. One, he's a jet. "I clocked at 6.39 in the 60," he told me, putting him in rare company. Two, Petco Park is an ideal home for a super fast center fielder. Drives stall there, says former center fielder Dave Roberts, which will give Maybin more chances to outrun mistakes, and the surface, which is as even as a pool table, builds confidence. What's more, Padres pitchers excel at pitching to scouting reports, making it easier for teammates to anticipate where the ball will be hit. Last, at age 23, Maybin should improve. For what it's worth, Padres outfield coach Rick Renteria says Maybin "is taking good lines on the ball."

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