When the big Craig Kimbrel trade was made on Opening Day eve, most fans likely rolled their eyes at the Braves getting outfielder Cameron Maybin in the deal. But two months into the season, Maybin has become one of the best stories of the season for the Braves.
Through Wednesday night's game in Los Angeles, Maybin was hitting .261 with a .361 on base percentage. He has 30 hits in 115 at bats, with five home runs, 19 runs batted in and six stolen bases. That put Maybin on pace for 20 home runs, 76 RBI and 24 stolen bases if he continues to start in center field for the rest of the season.
Contrast that to the numbers put up last season by Melvin Upton, who was sent to San Diego in the same trade. In 2014 Upton hit only .208 with 12 home runs, 35 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 510 at bats.
So obviously, Maybin has provided the Braves with a tremendous upgrade in the outfield.
Some of Maybin's splits this season are bizarre. The right-handed hitter has batted only .160 against lefty pitchers but has a .289 average against right-handers. Maybin has always done well in his career against right-handed pitchers (a .251 mark) compared to only a .238 average against southpaws.
This month Maybin has hit .307 with a .402 OBP and 14 runs batted in. Since being moved up from the eighth spot in the batting order (where he hit .298), Maybin has batted .280 as the number two hitter in the lineup with a .400 on base percentage.
What is so great about Maybin's production is that he is on track for career highs in home runs and RBI. His high home run total was nine in 2011 with the Padres, while the next season Maybin had a career high in RBI with 45. He is on pace to obliterate those numbers with the season he is putting up this year.
When the spring was winding down, Eric Young, Jr. was on track to fill in for Upton in center field. Upton injured his foot in late February, which opened the door for Young. But then Young started off slowly and manager Fredi Gonzalez started switching around the outfielders and Maybin settled in as a starter.
The Braves are fortunate now that Maybin is under contract through the 2016 season. He is being paid $7 million this season and $8 million in 2016. The Braves also have a $9 million option for the 2017 season, with a $1 million buyout. If he continues to do well, Maybin might be around for a while.
And without a doubt, Maybin is a lot better than B.J., or Melvin Upton.
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Cameron Maybin > Melvin Upton
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