Back where it all started.
That would be the phrase used to describe the off-season trade that landed Cameron Maybin with the Detroit Tigers.
Maybin was drafted 10th overall in the 2005 MLB Draft by the Tigers right out of high school. He spent time in the minor leagues until he made his major league debut in 2007. In his second game as a major leaguer, Maybin would record his first career home run off Roger Clemens at old Yankee Stadium.
Maybin’s time with the Tigers was short lived. He was a part of the blockbuster deal that ultimately brought Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers from the Florida Marlins.
It was mostly minor league time that Maybin saw in his tenure with the Marlins from 2008-10 as he could never really seem to keep it consistent at the major league level. He was traded prior to the 2011 campaign to the San Diego Padres and it was there where he’d officially get his big break as en everyday big leaguer.
After having a successful first two years with the Padres hitting .253/.315/.371 with 66 stolen bags in his first two seasons full-time, Cameron was limited to just 109 games from 2013-14.
Fast forward to literally one day prior to the start of the 2015. The Padres strike a last-minute deal with the Atlant Braves, acquiring premier closer Craig Kimbrel in exchange for a package of players highlighted by Maybin.
His one year with the Braves after leaving San Diego, he hit .267 with 10 home runs, 59 RBI’s and 23 stolen bases. The Tigers would acquire Maybin in a trade with the Braves in the 2015 off-season that sent Ian Krol and Gabe Speier to Atlanta.
It was a return back to where it all started for him in professional baseball.
At the start of 2016 Spring Training, a 95 MPH fastball from Luis Severino of the New York Yankees caught Maybin’s left wrist, which ended up fracturing it in the process. The injury was slated to sideline the center fielder for 4-6 weeks. It was not something Tigers fan wanted to see.
After a long recovery process and getting his at-bats in down in the minor leagues, on May 16th of 2016, Maybin would make his season debut for the Tigers against the Minnesota Twins. He contributed 2 hits, produced a walk at the plate, scored a run and stole a base.
Since that date, Cameron has done nothing but produce for the Tigers.
In 4 games, he is hitting at a .615 clip with 8 hits and 4 stolen bases. He’s acted like a ‘spark plug’ for the Tigers it seems.
I realize that it’s only 4 games in since his return, but the production can’t go unnoticed and the type of clubhouse presence he seems to be is something that should be talked about as well.
Ian Kinsler and Justin Verlander both spoke of the impact Maybin has had on the team in just a short amount of time.
“I’m going to be honest with you. Cam’s personality has been huge for us. He brings energy, he brings excitement, he loves to play the game. When you have a personality like that, it helps everybody,” Kinsler said.
Verlander echoed what his second baseman said of Cam:
“Both sides of it, on the field and in the clubhouse. He’s high energy, very personable guy. I think it’s a little bit different now than when I played with him, gosh, nine years ago. He’s established himself; he feels more comfortable around the clubhouse, more comfortable expressing his opinions, and going up to whoever and saying, ‘Let’s go.’ Whatever it may be, I think he’s added a great spark to his team.”
Coming from established veterans and great players in Kinsler and Verlander, that’s good stuff right there. It shows that Maybin is just an all-around good guy to have on the team.
Here’s to hoping that Cameron Maybin can keep this pace up and continue to produce at a high level for the Tigers.
What do you think, Nation, how do you see the rest of the season panning out for the center fielder?
Photo Credit: Tom Hagerty from Flickr.com