John Mayberry’s Big Night Demonstrates Delmon Young’s Irrelevance

Through his first 111 plate appearances as a Phillie, right fielder Delmon Young has hit about as well as well as we realistically could have expected. He had posted a .304 and .305 weighted on-base average in 2011 and ’12, respectively, and currently sits at .302. The National League average for right fielders is .331. To put it simply, Young has been between two and three runs below average offensively. Despite flashing a strong arm that has surprised those of us (including yours truly) who thought he was in the same company as Juan Pierre and Ben Revere in terms of arm strength, Young has been a trainwreck defensively and he has not added any value on the base paths, making him a net negative to the Phillies.

With the emergence and subsequent takeover of the league by left fielder Domonic Brown (.378 wOBA), playing time has been few and far between for John Mayberry. Ignoring interleague games in which Young was used as a designated hitter, opening up right field, Mayberry has started nine times since the start of May. Six of those were starts in center field for the offensively-impotent Ben Revere, including four games in a row May 14-18 when Charlie Manuel was most frustrated with Revere.

As Mayberry showed last night, with his game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning and walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 11th, he is able to provide some value on the field. He had a .714 OPS entering the game, which was higher than Young’s at just about any point during the season. Unlike Young, Mayberry is quite capable defensively and has run the bases about as poorly in his scant few opportunities.

Before the season, when Young was still a free agent, I was calling for the Phillies to platoon Mayberry with Laynce Nix. Mayberry has posted a .375 wOBA against left-handed pitching over his career while Nix is .315 against right-handed pitching. Combined, the duo would constitute an average-ish right field. The Young signing squelched any hope of a platoon and relegated Mayberry to the #2 right-handed bat off the bench behind Kevin Frandsen. But now that the Young project clearly hasn’t worked out and Mayberry has outproduced him, it’s time to revisit the idea of utilizing a platoon in right field.

Young’s skill set actually plays better off of the bench, anyway. Using him for one at-bat in the late innings against a lefty means his defense isn’t costing the team runs in the early and middle innings. It means he doesn’t have to painfully lug his sluggish body around the bases three or four times a game. It means he isn’t being dominated by right-handed pitching. It means his hack-first, ask-questions-later approach isn’t helping keep opposing starters in the game by suppressing their pitch counts. And, most importantly, it means the Phillies would have the platoon advantage in a significantly higher proportion of plate appearances from their right fielders.

Mayberry’s performance last night is hopefully the wake-up call the Phillies need to realize that Young is more of an impediment than an asset to the team in his current role.

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35 comments

  1. bubba0101

    June 05, 2013 10:18 AM

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. and Thank you. Someone please make Bill the bench coach of the Phillies, or jsut let him make all the personel decisions. Also, looking into this a little deaper, Delmon Young has a decent OPS against lefties, so if they are insisting on keeping him in right then Mayberry should start seeing games at first when we face a decent to good lefty, which would allow us to use Howard in the late innings when they bring in a righty off the bench to pitch to Young or Mayberry.

  2. Cutter

    June 05, 2013 10:44 AM

    While I am no fan of Delmon Young…

    1. It wasn’t long ago that Dom Brown was having a disappointing season. Young didn’t get the benefit of Spring Training, so maybe he’s going to similarly warm up soon.

    (In no way do I actually expect this to happen)

    2. I don’t want to see Mayberry as a regular because I think his role as the primary RH bench bat is perfect for him.

    If Ruiz and Utley come back soon, I actualy think that a bench of Mayberry, Nix, Kratz, Galvis, and Frandsen is about as good a bench as you’ll find in the NL.

  3. VoteForDelmon

    June 05, 2013 11:15 AM

    But is Mayberry on the all star ballot?

    I didn’t think so…

  4. bubba0101

    June 05, 2013 11:21 AM

    Just look at the numbers. The sample sizes are sufficient to warrant Mayberry getting a majority of at bats. Bottom line is that Mayberry needs to play against lefties.

  5. JM

    June 05, 2013 11:22 AM

    Thanks BB. I think I am the only person that has been pushing for more JMJ all year. He is a line drive hitter that goes on streaks when givent he opportuinity to play. if only we had that current cubbie to platoon with him, RF would be a strength for the Phillies. how about a Revere/Mayberry platoon on CF since it doesn’t appear DY is going to sit anytime soon?

  6. bubba0101

    June 05, 2013 11:28 AM

    JM,

    Youre not alone…

  7. Jack Parkman

    June 05, 2013 11:43 AM

    The Mayberry/Nix (or even Mayberry/Nix/Revere) platoon needs to happen. I’m actually OK with Young getting a couple of starts per week (only against LHP, and only at the expense of Revere’s playing time).

    But starting Young instead of Mayberry (or Nix) is lunacy.

  8. Jonny5

    June 05, 2013 12:02 PM

    I for one like the idea of playing JM full time in CF with Revere playing RF. I’d Keep Nix and Young as Pinch hitters off the bench. Revere and his noodle arm won’t hurt as bad in RF. And Mayberry is fully capable of manning CF. His arm isn’t as good as Brown, but it’s good enough, and much better than Ben’s. I like keeping Ben as a starting player to be subbed out late in the game if needed. He’s fast and prone to hot games with room to improve if he’s played every day.

  9. Evan

    June 05, 2013 12:06 PM

    @Jonny5…why not move Revere to LF and Brown to RF, where his arm would be better utilized?

    I am all for D. Young getting canned, but this dude is RAJs pet project, and to think that RAJ will give up on him after seeing him hit 5 homers so far (in RAJs mind, he is “producing”), then we are all crazy. This is where Charlie really needs to step up and make this happen himself by starting Mayberry more than Young.

  10. yo

    June 05, 2013 12:07 PM

    Move the better CFer to RF, start Mayberry in CF even against righties and take the better CFer late in the game. Ruben get the job over you?

  11. FlyinHawiianPizza

    June 05, 2013 12:16 PM

    Delmon Young slumps in his chair after a long, extra innings game in which he provided a 1 for 3 effort, scoring a run and batting a run in.

    He mindlessly browses the internet, until he reluctantly clicks his Crashburn Alley bookmark.

    “Maybe this time,” he thinks. “Maybe this is the night Bill realizes I am not just a ballplayer, but a man. A man with feelings.”

    He scans the headlines until his eyes slowly creep across the words, “…Delmon Young’s Irrelevance…”

    His palm flattens against the glowing monitor as he whispers, “I will make you love me, Bill.”

    END SCENE

  12. JM

    June 05, 2013 12:37 PM

    ^my GOD….if he reads the comments he may need Paxil

  13. hk

    June 05, 2013 12:48 PM

    How long will it be until we get a similar piece about Kevin Frandsen and the other Young?

  14. ron the dentist

    June 05, 2013 12:50 PM

    Delmon Young deserves just one thing. Trade him to the Al for a bag of baseballs

  15. Jonny5

    June 05, 2013 12:52 PM

    Evan, I’d say because Brown is comfortable there and is already enough of a liability on Defense, plus there is more ground to cover in RF which Revere can do very well.

    Yo, I’m not convinced that Revere is “better” at being a CF when he can’t get the ball back to the infield without it bouncing a couple times. He’s great at getting to the ball, but getting it in is his problem and it costs runs, more than Mayberry would in the same position. Imo.

  16. ron the dentist

    June 05, 2013 12:58 PM

    EVERY game that Hamel’s pitches, DELMON YOUNG COST HAMELS DEFENSIVELY. Either the opposition dinks two or more balls in front of him because he plays so deep and has no speed or he misplays a ball at he wall because he is a total joke going back on a baseball.

    His best chance is to be a DH in the American League

  17. Phillie697

    June 05, 2013 01:11 PM

    Moving Revere to RF is not a good idea. His bat profiles even LESS in RF.

    Although, then again, maybe he’ll break UZR the way Brett Gardner did if we move him to RF.

  18. Phillie697

    June 05, 2013 01:13 PM

    @ron the dentist,

    AL DHs collectively have a .331 wOBA. Douchbag Young is at .302 wOBA. In reality, he belongs nowhere, and has no chance anywhere.

  19. Jonny5

    June 05, 2013 02:20 PM

    Phillie, My hypothosis: if you use the same players in the same OF the bat profile doesn’t matter just because the profile doesn’t fit. It all equals the same in the end. It’s more about minimizing inefficiencies. Revere’s largest one is his arm in CF specifically. Moving Mayberry there to replace him nets you more put outs in the end. While his ability to track down and catch balls is not much less than Ben’s is, his arm is much better suited for CF. I think Bill touched on this awhile back saying he costs the team in put outs far more in CF than he would in RF.

  20. hk

    June 05, 2013 02:43 PM

    ron the dentist,

    Why the use of the words “either” and “or”?Unfortunately, the opposition dinking two or more balls in front of DY and DY misplaying a ball at the wall are not mutually exclusive. I believe on Friday night in Hamels’s last start, DY exhibited both.

  21. Phillie697

    June 05, 2013 02:46 PM

    @Jonny5,

    I agree with your premises, but I think this statement is unsubstantiated and needs study and consideration: “While his ability to track down and catch balls is not much less than Ben’s is.”

    Remember, it’s not as if Ben’s arm had over-night disappeared. He always had a bad arm, but that bad arm produced a 14.9 UZR last year, i.e. despite his inability to throw anybody out, his ability to track down balls was SO great that it made up for the bad arm AND THEN some. 14.9 UZR is Andruw Jones territory. John Mayberry, on the other hand, better arm and all, have produced -3.6 UZR in his career, and not all of them in CF, i.e. statistics would suggest his ability to track down balls is much much much inferior than Revere.

  22. Jack Parkman

    June 05, 2013 02:48 PM

    Question: What is wrong with Nix? Is he hurt? Did he piss Chollie off? I can’t remember the last time he got a start, and (barring injury) I can’t envision a rational explanation for using him so sparingly.

  23. Phillie697

    June 05, 2013 03:16 PM

    Yeah… You forgot this one convenient but important detail… JMJ turns 30 this year. He is not someone you play and develop.

  24. Jonny5

    June 05, 2013 03:45 PM

    Phillie, Yes UZR does dislike JMJ, and yes it says he is much worse at tracking balls down. But Ben Revere THIS season is no better than JMJ in UZR terms. There could be park factors at play with UZR. It’s strange to see his rating get so bad by just changing parks. Anyhow, what I see in Philly is that JMJ can get to almost any ball Revere can. I also see he can only throw half as far as JMJ which says to me he is more of a liability in CF than RF. If Revere all of a sudden turns back into Superman out there I could change my opinion but in his (small sample size? Yes)time here he has not been that much better at tracking balls down than JMJ normally is and his arm is terrible to boot.

  25. Fish Fry

    June 05, 2013 07:37 PM

    Last Year Ben played 84 games in RF and 39 CF, the Twins thought it better to put Ben someplace less damaging so whatever is UZR was in CF is was based on a small sample size. Of course, everything is based on a small sample size for Ben’s OF defence so all defensive metrics are suspect.

  26. Fish Fry

    June 05, 2013 07:40 PM

    Would we see the petulant Young return if they consistently benched him and made him a PH? His ego would be seriously bruised.

  27. Fish Fry

    June 05, 2013 08:01 PM

    Ben Revere in 2012 CF UZR/150 -5.6 Span +9.0
    RF UZR/150 26.2 #3 MLB Rank

    2013 CF for Phils UZR/150 1.6 MLB 26 of 30

    Mayberry CF -16.9

  28. Phillie697

    June 05, 2013 08:02 PM

    @Jonny5,

    That’s why I said it needs more study and consideration :) I didn’t suggest at all that UZR is definitive, but it is something that points to the opposite of what you suggested.

  29. Fish Fry

    June 05, 2013 08:12 PM

    @697 Yes, Ben is a superior defensive RF and maybe a decent Defensive CF although in 2011 he split time with Span and they both posted ~ 15 UZR/150 in 600 innings. Minnesota decided Span was the better CF prospect and Ben was moved to RF. Which Ben shows up for the rest of the year will determine if Ben is the CF’er of the future or another of RAJ misses.

  30. Mike B.

    June 06, 2013 09:24 AM

    I’m interested in hearing Larry’s thoughts on this.

    “Was Mayberry ever a #1 prospect? No? Case closed.”

    ;)

  31. Phillie697

    June 06, 2013 07:04 PM

    @Howyadoin,

    Because there is no such thing as “developing” 30 year old players. You can argue whether it’s a good idea to PLAY him, but please don’t disguise it as us “developing” him. There is hardly any development left for JMJ.

  32. Phillie697

    June 07, 2013 11:59 AM

    @howyadoin,

    The value of JMJ vs Revere is certainly debatable, especially given that Revere hasn’t lived up to his defensive prowess so far this year. However, since neither is likely to make or break this season, I rather give PAs to someone who still have some projections left (namely, his defense may come around) than a known quantity.

    IF Revere is a 2-3 WAR player based on his defense alone, which was what most people were projecting when the trade was made (hence why many of us were okay with the trade; just okay mind you, not happy or elated or anything), then he’s worth more than JMJ. That’s the big question though, and seeing as how Revere is really auditioning for a long-term job with the club, we should give him the PAs, like we should have given them to Dom 2 years ago.

  33. Lenard Figueroa

    June 10, 2013 01:48 PM

    The initial guess is that Young will be a platoon outfielder with the Phillies. That role should suit him well since he hit .308 with an .833 OPS, seven homers and 26 RBI versus left-handed pitching last season. For his career, Young has a .307 average and .824 OPS against lefties.

  34. hk

    June 10, 2013 03:15 PM

    Leonard Figueroa,

    The numbers that you quote scream “platoon OF” to most of us. However, since the numbers you quote are practically the same numbers that Young had when the Phils signed him to be an everyday OF, what makes you think the Phillies will change their minds?

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