Gorkys Hernandez and Cameron Maybin article
Not to make fans of teams other than the Detroit Tigers feel any worse right about now, but you know that exciting outfield they have? Well, there is even more young talent on the way up.
Make that really young talent. Neither Cameron Maybin or Gorkys Hernandez, two of the club's top center-field prospects, were even born in 1984 when the Tigers last won the World Series.
Maybin, the Tigers' top pick in 2005 out of high school in Asheville, N.C. -- where he was a batboy for the Class A Tourists as a kid -- signed late that year, making the '06 season his professional debut.
The 19-year-old quickly established himself as one of the top all-around prospects in the game with his summer at Class A West Michigan, batting .304 with nine homers, 69 RBIs and 27 steals in just 101 games. He missed a month of action with an injured finger.
Venezuela-born Hernandez, who just turned 19, spent '05 in the Dominican Summer League but hit .327 with five home runs, 23 RBIs and 30 steals in his U.S. debut in the Gulf Coast League.
Tigers farm director Glenn Ezell has high hopes for both prospects and, just as significantly, is just as impressed with the players' makeup and attitude as he has been with their natural talent.
He got to see a lot more of them in the last few weeks as both participated in instructional ball in Lakeland.
This was Maybin's second stint in instructs, as he got his feet wet there last year after signing.
"He's a fine young player, but his character is as good as his talent -- he has wonderful talent and is a wonderful young man," Ezell said. "He likes to play, he's open to learning and he has good aptitude."
Maybin, 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, boasts the whole package when it comes to the proverbial "five-tool talent," but Ezell found out quickly that he's not content to rest on that natural ability.
Before the Instructional League began, Ezell talked to the teenager about what he wanted to accomplish there and was surprised and impressed by the answer.
"He said he wanted to learn how to bunt for base hits," Ezell said. "He felt that there would be times when that would help him get out of slumps."
Hernandez has not gotten the same outside attention as Maybin, but he's certainly made a good impression on the Tigers.
"He made everybody watch him and made everybody want to watch him," Ezell said. "He has wonderful instincts and is just a pleasure to be around."
Ezell was especially impressed by Hernandez's defense in center.
"He doesn't look like he can fly, but then he'll get to baseballs in the outfield that make you shake your head and say 'wow,'" he said. "He can cover ground, he can swing the bat and he'll surprise you with his power."
Ezell doesn't even want to speculate where the two current center fielders will end up down the road.
"I believe they are both center fielders, but right now the important thing is for these young men to just play baseball," he said.
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/ ... &fext=.jsp
Gorkys Hernandez(looks eerily like Alex Sanchez in this pic)
Cameron Maybins player page
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/ ... pid=457727
Gorkys Hernandez player page
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/ ... pid=491676