John Mayberry shows his power, hitting a two-run homer against the Diamondbacks last week. (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)
It seems that John Mayberry’s career with the Phillies has been filled with opportunities.
Mayberry was given his first major league opportunity in 2009 with the Phillies. But his stint was short lived when he would strike out almost every at-bat. But he did show the Phillies he had some Major League pop, going 2-for-3 with a double and home run in his very first game against the New York Yankees.
Little flashes of brilliance like that kept Mayberry relevant in the Phillies organization, which was full of budding prospects such as Michael Taylor, Domonic Brown and Jonathan Singleton.
And thanks to those little flashes, Mayberry looks as if he has found a permanent spot in the majors just two years after making his debut. With the way he’s played his last four games with the Phils, he may be working his way up to a possible permanent role in someone’s line up.
The Phils may have seen Mayberry in action the past three years but this is the first year he’s cracked the Opening Day roster. After an unfortunate demotion midseason, Mayberry was brought back up and has now found himself a permanent spot on the big league club.
Part of it may have to do with Brown’s inability to adjust to big league hitting. But most of it has to do with Mayberry’s sudden increase in plate discipline and maturity. He’s hitting good pitches and it’s shown in his last four games.
Mayberry started four straight games before his day off on Sunday and took full advantage. He went 7-for-15 with a triple, homer and four RBIs. The best stat during that span: one strike outs. In 203 plate appearances this season, Mayberry has struck out only 39 times.
On the season, Mayberry is hitting .269 with 13 doubles, a triple and 10 homers. Those are all season highs because his 74 games played this year are a career high among his three seasons.
Baseball Reference also posted some interesting stats, calling Mayberry a .259 hitter with 21 homers and 64 RBIs in a 162-game season.The good news about those stats are that they will gradually get better as the 27-year-old gets more playing time, finds a groove and brings those numbers up.
As for fielding, Mayberry holds the clear advantage over Phils prized prospect Domonic Brown. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Those are certainly numbers capable of starting in the big leagues. But are they starter’s numbers on the Phillies? And are they numbers that could make the Phillies forget about Domonic Brown?
Mayberry is a much better fielder and runner than Brown. And as far as hitting, Brown has a higher OBP and the ability to get base hits but has really lacked in the power department, an area where Mayberry is excelling. In fact, of Mayberry’s 50 hits this season, 24 of them have been for extra bases.
Mayberry is already in a battle with Raul Ibanez for playing time in left field. He’s also shown he can play all three outfield positions, including center field to give Shane Victorino rest. Mayberry can also play first base, giving the Phils a right-handed option there as well, spelling their big star slugger for a handful of games as the regular season winds down.
As of right now, Mayberry has provided the Phillies with an exceptionally reliable bench player who can start when needed and actually produce like a big time player. Though batting .250 (6-for-24) as a pinch hitter, he’s also proven to be clutch in that spot, rattling off a handful of game-tying hits this season and most notably his walk-off hit on Opening Day.
Mayberry certainly has cemented himself a place on this team’s roster heading into October. But as far as next year, we’ll see. Ibanez won’t be back and Brown is learning to play left field in hopes of one day making the big league roster permanently.
As for Mayberry, he has to keep doing what he’s doing. The fans love him, Charlie Manuel loves him and Mayberry loves the game of baseball.
Mayberry is free. Now how far will he fly?