The Comp: Cameron Maybin Vs. Dexter Fowler





See also: Last week's The Comp looked at the Salem rotation

Their feet have covered the same grass, although their paths have yet to cross. Rockies prospect Dexter Fowler is currently roaming center field at low Class A Asheville's McCormick Field, which is where Tigers prospect Cameron Maybin fine-tuned his skills during practice and occasional games with T.C. Roberson High School. As a result, the Asheville outfield, which was manned by future Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Heinie Manush and Harry Heilmann on April 3, 1924 in the first game played on the diamond, has served as a proving ground for two of the game's most promising outfielders.

Fowler, a 14th-round draft pick in 2004 who signed for second-round money ($925,000), is in his second pro season and his first in a full-season league. A two-way standout in high school who had scholarship offers in both baseball and basketball, Fowler is coming off a solid showing in the Pioneer League, hitting .273/.357/.409 with 18 stolen bases while switch-hitting for the first time in game competition. He opened the current campaign by homering from both sides of the plate in the season's first game, and has displayed incredible athleticism while batting .324/.411/.523 with 17 steals in 25 attempts in his first 28 contests.

Maybin, who is a year and two weeks younger than Fowler, joined the Detroit organization as the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft. He, too, had scholarship opportunities for both basketball and baseball, although his desire to sign was never a question. Even so, negotiations lasted throughout last summer before the outfielder signed for $2.65 million. After an impressive debut during instructional league, Maybin displayed his five-tool package with aplomb this spring. Through his first 100 at-bats in the Midwest League, the outfielder was hitting .330/.409/.510 with four triples and six steals.

"You look at those two guys and you see athletes who know how to put their talent to use on a baseball field,” said the scout. "They both have incredible skills and great bodies that will allow them to do a lot of things in this game, and that includes the major leagues.

"They're different type hitters. Cameron's strength is off the charts. He's very physical and can simply crush the ball. He may not have hit many home runs yet, but he's got as much power as you'll see in a 19-year-old. He can center the ball on the bat and drive it out of the ballpark from pole to pole. He hit one of the longest home runs I've ever seen an amateur hit while he was in high school.

"Fowler, meanwhile, is probably a little more advanced, a little more polished with the bat than Cameron, at similar stages in their development. While Maybin has the pop, Dexter has some power in his body, but he's more of a gap hitter. Still, he has a great idea of how to put the ball in play and let his legs do some of the work. Between the two, Dexter is probably is a little bit more of a pure hitter, but not by a whole lot.

"In the outfield, Dexter glides to the ball with minimal effort. His lean, stream-lined body is like that of a true center fielder. He has plus speed and covers a lot of ground. He's also an outstanding base stealer and getting better. His arm is decent, but not anything special. He does have a quick release and good accuracy on his throws. I've heard comparisons to Andruw Jones and a few others, but the guy he reminds me of is Paul Blair, the former Oriole outfielder.

"Cameron, as big and strong as he is, could wind up being a Vladimir Guerrero-type guy. I see him moving to right field. His arm is plenty strong enough to play right field at higher levels. He has good speed and he will continue to move well after his body finishes maturing. I see him being an excellent right fielder. He runs well now and he will run well on the basepaths for a big guy, a lot like Dave Parker did early in his career. Both he and Dexter are a lot of fun to watch and I think that will be the case all the way to the big leagues."

Advantage: Maybin.