05/09/05 11:24 AM ET
Q&A with Cameron Maybin
Prep school prospect in this year's draft class
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
MLB.com: I'm sure for you you've been thinking about this for a long time and have been dealing with scouts for a long time so you're probably already chomping at the bit for June to come around.
Cameron Maybin: I'm really excited about this whole process. I'm playing pretty well. I came in this season playing pretty well, so I'm looking forward to everything that's in store.
MLB.com: Do you get any sense now in terms of where you think you might go? You're being mentioned among the top three to five players, both college and high school. Is it taking shape at all in your mind in terms of where you think you're going to slot in?
Maybin: I really don't know. The draft is crazy. You never know where you're going to go or who's going to pick you so I'm just kind of sitting back and trying to have a good senior year, and come June we'll see what happens.
MLB.com: How have you dealt with the added expectations and pressures of being such a top draft pick? Not just in terms of all those eyes and stopwatches and note-takers paying attention, but the extra batting practice you're probably asked to take, probably the extra throwing from the outfield people want to see you do. Is there ever a point in time where you just want to say "Man, I just want to chill with my friends, I don't want to take the extra BP?"
Maybin: Baseball is what I love to do. I have no problem with hitting. What kid or teenager doesn't love to hit? When it's in front of the scouts it's just that much better. I tend to step my game up when there's a bigger crowd or when the stage is set up a little bit higher. It's been no problem. I haven't complained once. I'm having fun with the whole process and I'm looking forward to much more to come.
MLB.com: The other top high school prospect is Justin Upton, B.J.'s younger brother. I know you've probably run across him on more than one occasion, including the Aflac All-American Game. Did you guys get a chance to compare notes at all about the craziness that probably was starting back then for you guys?
Maybin: You know, Justin and I, we go way back to when we were 11-year-olds at AAU. We had some battles back then. We got together back in Aberdeen, we just kicked back and talked a little bit about the past. We didn't really go on too much about the draft. We were just up there having fun and just talking, pretty much.
MLB.com: So who's better, you or Justin?
Maybin: Of course I'm going to say myself and of course Justin will tell you the same thing. He'll tell you he's the better player but that's just the competitiveness coming out of the both of us.
MLB.com: I was reading that one of the byproducts of all of the attention that you've received, that scouts have noticed other guys on your high school team, particularly guys who would be eligible for next year's draft class. Does that make you feel good that with other people giving you this much attention, it's helping out your teammates as well?
Maybin: Definitely. It definitely has made my teammates approach the game at a much more serious level. It's helped our team out a whole lot. They know somebody's going to be there the whole game and every practice. It's helped our team a tremendous amount.
MLB.com: We've got an email for you, Cameron. This comes from Steve in Cincinnati: Who was the best pitcher you faced last summer? Was it in game action or batting practice?
Maybin: The best pitcher I faced was last summer, it was two guys actually. In the Connie Mack World Series we faced a left-handed kid -- I think he's going to Arizona State, I'm not sure what his name is. And in Maryland, actually at the Aflac game, I faced Beau Jones out of Louisiana. I thought that he was a dandy left-handed kid. I'm pretty sure he'll go pretty high and he's a great kid; he's a great guy and he was definitely at the top of the list.
MLB.com: I know that there have been many, many comparisons between yourself and Ken Griffey Jr. What do you say when people want to compare to a guy of that stature. I also know you've been able to interact with Griffey a little bit lately, so why don't you tell me about your experiences with him.
Maybin: He's an awesome guy. When people come at me like that I just let them know that there's only one Ken Griffey Jr. I don't want to be the next Ken Griffey Jr. I want to be the next Cameron Maybin. As far as that goes he's a great guy, very, very humble guy, very down to earth, very out going. The time I spent with him definitely will be a moment that I'll always remember. We've made a little friendship. I've talked to him once or twice on the phone since then. He's a good guy.
MLB.com: I know one of the things you did with him through MLB Productions. Are they making you into a TV star?
Maybin: I don't know about a TV star, but you know we did a little piece and I think it turned out pretty well.
MLB.com: Last year you stepped up and pitched for the first time closing, because of injuries on the team. From what I understand, you can bring it a little bit from the mound.
Maybin: Our best pitcher got hurt last year. He had a little incident where he tore his ACL and I just told the coach this year is probably one of our best chances we're going to have since my freshman year to win the state championship, and I told him, "If you need me to throw, just let me know." So I started throwing some 'pens and I had a little giddy-up behind my fastball.
MLB.com: Was there any concern at all knowing that scouts were already watching you as an outfield prospect, of you doing any damage on the mound even in short stints as a closer?
Maybin: I wasn't too worried. I just wanted to win. That was the biggest goal last year and again that's the biggest goal this year, so if I have to do it again this year I'll do it this year.
MLB.com: Do you have a fall-back in terms of signing any kind of an agreement with a school?
Maybin: Yes, I have signed with Southern University out of Baton Rouge, La. So that is pretty much set. If something crazy happens, I'll be attending school.
MLB.com: That's not a bad program. They've generated some pretty good players there. Rickie Weeks is probably the one who comes to most people's minds. Is that how you decided on a school like Southern, as opposed to something even in your own backyard?
Maybin: Actually the coach contacted me. I met him down in Ft. Myers (Fla.). He told me a little bit about the program. I didn't even know that Rickie Weeks went there until he told me about it. I asked some scouts about the program and they told me some good things about it. A lot of D-1's backed off after the summer I had because a lot of them didn't think I was going to make it to school anyway. I think that it's a good fit for me.
MLB.com: Being in the area that you live in there's a lot of Minor League Baseball. I know you've been doing a lot with the Ashville Tourists. You were their batboy, you've worked out with them. How much do you think that will help you in terms of making that transition from amateur baseball to the lower Minor Leagues, just because you have a better sense of what it's all about than maybe some guys coming out of high school?
Maybin: It will help a lot. Being around those guys for three years definitely let me see how the business works: The things you need to do and the things you don't need to do. That experience that I had up there with them for three years will definitely help me have an edge on a lot of guys who are just entering the league.
MLB.com: Would you prefer to be able to stay in center field? While I don't want to compare you to Ken Griffey Jr., do you want to be that kind of player, or are you cool with wherever they want to move you once you've turned pro?
Maybin: I would love to play center field but I just look at it as the quickest way to the league and the fastest way I can help somebody start winning. I would have no problem with [moving].
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.