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Maybin Sets High Expectations
June 8, 2004
By CRYSTAL EVOLA
DETROIT--High school center fielder Cameron Maybin expects to be wearing a Tigers uniform in three years. For now, he’ll have to settle on being a Tigers prospect.
Maybin was Detroit’s first-round pick and 10th overall in Tuesday’s first day of the draft.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Maybin was picked out of T.C. Roberson High in Arden, N.C., just outside of Asheville. It marked just the third time in 12 years that Detroit selected a position player in the first round.
“My goal, I told my dad, I want to be there in three years and help Detroit win some ballgames,” Maybin said of his personal timetable to get to the majors. “I just believe with the work ethic I have, I believe if I just work hard, barring injury, I think I can be there.”
The switch-hitting Maybin batted .646 as senior to set a North Carolina record for a single-season batting average.
He finished the season with 66 runs scored, 15 home runs and 32 stolen bases to earn North Carolina Gatorade High School Player of the Year honors for the second straight season.
What makes him worth of a 10th pick?
“His present tools,” Tigers scouting director David Chadd said. “He’s an offensive player, a very good defensive player, a plus runner and the one thing that really struck me was Cameron’s work ethic and desire.”
Maybin’s tools rank with anyone in the draft. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 2 five-tool talent among high school players, behind only No. 1 overall pick Justin Upton, and as the No. 2 power hitter among prep players.
Maybin’s 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame oozes athletic ability, and he has earned comparisons to players such as Preston Wilson and Vladimir Guerrero. He’s a center fielder for now and could eventually land in right field.
Athleticism is only part of Maybin’s package, however. He has athletic bloodlines, including being the cousin of former North Carolina guard Rashad McCants, who helped lead the Tar Heels to the NCAA men’s basketball championship in April. McCants was among the Asheville celebrities on hand at Maybin’s home on draft day, as was former big leaguer Darren Holmes and officials from the low Class A Asheville Tourists. Maybin was a Tourists batboy growing up, joining an interesting alumni list of batboys that includes author Thomas Wolfe and North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams.
• Maybin was the only high school player the Tigers took in the first day of the draft. In the third round, they took the highest-drafted Canadian of the draft, Illinois catcher Chris Robinson, a fine defender with good plate discipline offensively.
• One of the Tigers’ more intriguing picks was fifth-rounder Jeff Larish, a first baseman out of Arizona State. After turning down $650,000 last year from the Dodgers as a 13th-round pick, Larish figures to get less as a fifth-round pick and as a senior. Larish was the nation’s top hitter in 2003, when he ranked second in the nation in RBIs, first in walks and mashed 18 home runs. The Tigers got Larish this year after he batted .320/..452/.653 with 19 homers and 61 RBIs, mixing in 51 walks. However, Larish swings and misses a lot (55 K’s in 222 at-bats), and scouts criticize his stiff approach at the plate.