Could Cameron Maybin be considered Atlanta's MVP so far this season?
The answer is yes. Considering how bad center field was the last two seasons, with the man Maybin was traded for (Melvin Upton) the main problem, the improvement is a big reason Atlanta's offense is so much better than it was a year ago.
Maybin became the starter soon after Eric Young, Jr. proved he was not going to stick, which he's done before. And ever since, Maybin has been an integral part of Atlanta's starting lineup.
After his 2-3 performance Wednesday, Maybin is now hitting .303 in his 50 games played this season, with five home runs, 28 RBI, 50 hits in 165 at bats, 18 walks, 35 strikeouts and 10 stolen bases. His season on base percentage is .375.
Let's look at some impressive split statistics. Since May 1, Maybin has hit .344 in 35 games, with two home runs, 23 RBI, 43 hits in 125 at bats, eight stolen bases and an OBP of .406.
In seven games in the month of June, Maybin has hit .500 (16-32) with six RBI, 16 hits in 32 at bats and a .515 on base percentage.
As a member of the starting lineup, Maybin has played in 43 games and has a .308 batting average (49-159) with five home runs, 26 RBI, 18 walks, 34 strikeouts, 10 stolen bases and an OBP of .382.
And batting second in the lineup, Maybin has hit .333 (22-66) with an on base percentage of .389.
Where would the Braves be without Maybin? Likely not near the .500 mark. He's made that type of impact in the lineup. Remember, Upton hit .198 in his two seasons as the starting center fielder.
How much better has Maybin been? Well, the numbers tell the story. We know second base has improved with Jace Peterson taking over for Dan Uggla, but the difference in center field is even more dramatic. Maybin has made a tremendous impact, and even though two-thirds of the season is still to be played, Maybin might be Atlanta's MVP so far.
Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.