Maybin brings revamped swing to Giants
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Every month throughout the offseason, Cameron Maybin would make a cross-country trek from his hometown of Asheville, N.C., to Southern California to spend a few days working on his swing with hitting guru Craig Wallenbrock.
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Maybin studied videos of elite hitters, learning to dissect swing mechanics and absorb the thought process behind their approaches. His goal wasn't necessarily to improve his launch angle; he just wanted to gain a fundamental understanding of his swing by breaking it down.
"That's something I've never really done in my career," Maybin said Sunday. "You go into the offseason, you work hard. I'm never taking time to really break the swing down and understand it. I told somebody the other day, 'I like cake, but I can't make my own cake.' So, now it's like I have the actual ingredients to make my own cake, if that makes any sense. Instead of waiting for someone else to make it, now I have the ingredients."
Once a top prospect, Maybin is now on his eighth team in parts of 13 Major League seasons after finalizing a Minor League deal with the Giants on Sunday. The 31-year-old outfielder split the 2018 season between the Marlins and the Mariners, batting .249 with a .662 OPS, four home runs and 10 stolen bases in 129 games. He can play all three outfield spots and continues to be a strong defender, accruing six Defensive Runs Saved last year.
In San Francisco, Maybin will likely serve as a right-handed-hitting complement to Steven Duggar in center field, though the pair isn't the ideal match for a platoon since Maybin has historically fared better against righties (.702 OPS) than lefties (.660 OPS) in his career. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he plans to give Maybin plenty of opportunities to face lefties this spring to improve his comfort level.
"I'm going to try to get Maybin as many at-bats as I can against lefties this spring," Bochy said. "Nothing's been said about we're platooning or what, but if a guy's numbers aren't that good against a pitcher, right or left, I try to push it back that way so he can get more comfortable."
Maybin said he's looking forward to unveiling his overhauled swing with the Giants, who expressed interest in him early in the offseason as they looked to add multiple experienced outfielders to their roster. Even before signing his contract, Maybin sent videos of his swing to Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell. Their relationship dates back to 2005, when Maybin was drafted with the 10th overall pick by the Tigers and Powell was managing Class A Dayton in the Midwest League.
"He's always someone who I think genuinely cared about my progression as a young man and as an athlete," Maybin said. "We've always had a really good relationship."
After playing in front of sparse crowds in Miami, Maybin said he's grateful for the opportunity to join an organization that has a passionate fanbase and has shown a consistent commitment to winning. While this marked the second consecutive year in which Maybin had to wait until February to sign, he feels fortunate to have a job when so many of his friends remain unemployed.
"This is what I love to do," Maybin said. "Going through an offseason where you're wondering if you're going to get a job or wondering why it's been so tough for guys to get jobs, it's not been fun. Hopefully, our players union, we can put our heads together and figure out something so we won't continue to have to go through things like this."