Matthew St-Germain

Prospects

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2008 NL East Prospects

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Prospect Contributions for 2008
NL EAST

Click here for a look at the NL Central.

The first thing that you will notice as we move from the NL Central to the NL East, is that there is comparatively an absolute dearth of qualifying rookie prospects that can help your team this season. Whereas there were five players who would go for $10+ in a regular 5x5 league in the NL Central, in the NL East, there is only one, and his value comes with an extreme downside. So the mood of these lists will be a bit on the somber side.

This is not to say that there are no bright future stars in the NL East, on the contrary, there's plenty; it's just that almost all of them will not be ready to substantially contribute positive stats to their teams this year, nor yours. And again, these are not future keeper lists, but rather, top prospects who may contribute to your successes in 2008. I've received a fair share of emails about this, and I just want to reiterate, these lists are not meant to rank future keepers on their full careers, but for just one season.

Another question was: "how was I determining who qualified for these lists?" I'm using the MLB's rookie designation limits: "A player who hasn't accumulated 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in previous seasons and hasn't spent 45 or more days on 25-man active rosters, not including times when the active list is expanded to 40." That last part should answer why Carlos Gomez isn't on any of the below lists, despite only 125 at-bats in the majors. Nitpicky I know, but this one is already long enough.

I also wanted to thank the many of you who wrote me positive letters. It definitely means a lot that someone out there values the hard work and time I put into these articles. And I know all the Rotoworld staff appreciates the positive feedback. Thanks again folks.

Cameron Maybin, CF, Florida Marlins
No prospect in the NL East currently projects to contribute even a third of the value that Maybin will provide this year, and that's unfortunate for a variety of reasons. The most pressing of these is the fact that Maybin is simply not ready for the majors, and his time there this season could harm his progress. His season ended on a variety of down notes – from the Tigers losing out on the World Series, to his horrible showing in the majors, to him extending that horribleness to the AFL and finally being shut down with a partially dislocated shoulder. So any further disappointments have the potential to send him into a downward spiral that will likely only be corrected by a demotion, and extended time back in the minors.

With that said, Maybin's future does indeed look exceptionally bright. While he moves from a much better team in Detroit, to a suddenly depleted one at the major league level in Florida, he now has little to no competition for the starting center field job. It's essentially his to lose unless the Marlins come to their senses and allow him to progress slowly through their high minors as a 20-year-old. Playing time is one of the major reasons why he's substantially more valuable than anyone else on this particular list.

His skill set is beyond enticing, with incredible athleticism combined with excellent bat speed, and great batting average ability and power in the future. He's also a plus defender with amazing range and great arm strength. Maybin's also big, fast and has excellent instincts on the base paths. He is a true five-tool player, with a great make-up and is a true student of the game. The major issue here is his contact rates, which are driven by his long swing and below average strike zone judgment. Consider that he had a contact rate of .70 in 2006 at West Michigan, explaining his .415 BABIP and devaluing the .304/.382/.457 that he hit. Add into that a 9% LD rate and a 26.1% K rate, highlighting that there are some looming issues that need working on that major league pitchers won't likely be willing to help him out with.

Things got relatively better at High-A Lakeland, as he raised his contact rate up to .76, still not a remarkable number, but not bad for a 20-year-old in High A. Maybin also had a very high BABIP of .396, again explaining his .305/.393//488 line as something less than it looks. In his Double-A and MLB stops he had contact rates of .70 and .58, respectively, highlighting to an almost nauseating degree what many in the industry have been saying: the young man is not yet ready. Yes, the injury did not help these numbers, but the pre-injury data supported this kind of drop, though the .58 at Detroit is a likely a combination of both. It should also be noted that both these sample sizes are very small.

What this means for those buying into Cameron Maybin this year is that he's going to score a fair amount of runs, and will actually provide a great deal of value in terms of stolen bases. He may even hit 10-14 home runs. But these numbers will come with an extremely prohibitive batting average; think .230. And over the amount of at-bats that he's likely to get, it could be a real killer for your team, so you have to decide if those steals, runs and home runs are worth the hassle. Most everyone thinks that Maybin gets there eventually in his career, no matter how this year goes for him, and he's one of the top ten prospects in the game, so none of this takes away from his future shine. And this year he will give you around $15 of value in a 5x5 league this year, but it will be a $15 that you may want to stay away from in redraft leagues, though you can certainly sell high. Those in keepers should try and snag him from their impatient owners after about his 5th week up if you want to buy in low. If you already own him on your minor league roster, keep him stashed there the entire year, and possibly even all of next.

467 AB, .233 BA, 11 HR, 86 R, 51 RBI, 34 SB


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