This is Cameron Maybin of the San Diego Padres. Cameron is putting together his first solid major league season after being traded twice on the power of his considerable potential. Maybin went from a centerpiece in the Miguel Cabrera trade to a guy traded for a relief pitcher, perhaps the greatest indictment of his fall from grace.
Turns out potential counts for something. Maybin cut down his strikeouts to make better use of his speed. A strong glove and a enough pop to make pitchers wary have Maybin worth nearly 4 Wins Above Replacement in 2011. Maybin isn’t the only much ballyhooed prospect to finally come into his own in 2011.
When it comes to “can’t miss” studs, patience is a virtue.
Just as , Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is producing excellent power numbers from the behind the plate. Salty started slowly but posted wOBAs of .410 and .382 in June and July, hitting 5 home runs in that time.
Saltalamacchia is another in the long line of Catchers of the Future to move around as apart of big trades. First he went Atlanta to Texas as part of the Mark Teixeira trade. The Rangers, in their defense, gave him more than his share of chances. The Red Sox took a shot on Saltalamacchia and their patience has been rewarded in 2011.
Despite the inherent good business of investing in draft picks, it is still a big time gamble for big league clubs. With so much distance and time between draft day and the show, prospects have nearly every opportunity to fizzle out along the way. Some ride their talent to the majors where they realize talent alone isn’t enough.
Sometimes a change in work ethic or a move to more a supportive environment can trigger the switch for young ballplayers. It can be a simple as a move to the cosy confines of a suitable ballpark which brings out the best of a player and meshes best with his skillset. Hell, it could just be dumb luck.
With so much at stake and so much invested in top talent, teams will continue going out of their way to give blue chippers every single opportunity to prove they belong at the game’s highest level. Even them, sometimes all it take is a little push.