Thursday, September 16, 2010
The J-Max Factor
Universally liked by everyone he's touched, Justin Maxwell's grand slam and game winning drive off Mike Minor yesterday in Atlanta only fueled further speculation about what Our Washington Nationals will do with this ultra-talented individual come year end. There is no doubt J-Max can provide a power bat, gazelle speed and the capability of becoming a gold glove outfielder. He's clearly one of the most athletic baseball players in the game today.
But the issue is, and has always been, whether the University of Maryland product will ever hit consistently in the Major Leagues? Now 26-years old, Justin Maxwell has never really done so. J-Max struggles with breaking pitches and his strikeout rate per at-bat is high. His work ethic is there, the talent too. The question is how long does a team hold on to such a gifted individual?
We call this The J-Max Factor.
Within Our Washington Nationals' organization, everyone will tell you they are pulling for Justin to make that last breakthrough and become the everyday player many have envisioned for years. But can he? Will he? Is it still possible?
A few years ago in an interview with Nats320, former Nationals GM Jim Bowden mentioned how sometimes talented players with high expectations become late bloomers. Whether it be due to injury, a flaw in their swing or just a comfort level, they fade early. But the most persistent, never giving up on themselves players, can overcome and succeed. JimBo used former Major Leaguer Reggie Sanders as a good example.
Sanders never really hit his stride until he was 27 years old. And due to persistent injuries, never really became an all-around player until his 30's. Is Justin Maxwell a similar type player? We don't know for sure.
What we do know is that The J-Max Factor is an issue Our Washington Nationals are thinking long and hard about as the 2010 Season is coming to a close.
Photo Credit--Kevin C. Cox Getty Images