2013 Phillies Report Card: John Mayberry
In preparation for writing this piece, I pulled up John Mayberry‘s Baseball Reference page. And my browser crashed. That’s a metaphor, in addition to being true.
You have to imagine that Mayberry’s reached the end of his useful life with the Phillies, or as is this franchise’s custom, time for a multi-year extension. That we didn’t reach this point years ago with Mayberry is the result of a phenomenon that I’m going to call the Ruf Fallacy. At a casual look, all minor leaguers are prospects, and that label only wears off with major league service time, as all rookies have the chance to develop. This is, of course, not the case with Mayberry. Given that Mayberry has never really been a full-time major league starter, you’d think that he still has room to develop. Consider:
Judging by major league experience, you’d expect Mayberry to be at a similar developmental point to Mini-Keg rather than Markakis. But take a look at this:
- Manny Machado: born July 6, 1992
- John Mayberry: born Dec. 21, 1983
- Nick Markakis: born Nov. 17, 1983
You get to this point–being old as hell without having actually played much–by going to college (this contributed to the late start that will keep Chase Utley out of the Hall of Fame), by taking a long time to get to the majors, and by getting bounced around once he’s there. Mayberry did all three.
Physically, Mayberry, who will turn 30 before Opening Day, is actually on the downside of his career. After a very promising 2011 in which Mayberry hit .273/.341/.513 with eight stolen bases, largely as a platoon bat, he’s been pressed into service as a starter, which he’s not, particularly in center field, and in the two years since, Mayberry’s only hit .237/.294/.393. His platoon issues haven’t been crippling, but he just…he doesn’t do anything particularly well. And if you’re going to have a backup first baseman/corner outfielder/Ryan Howard caddy against tough lefties, isn’t Darin Ruf a better option at this point? And even if he’s not, aren’t guys like that the most readily available commodity out there? If position players were elements, John Mayberry would be Hydrogen. Maybe take a path other than that of least resistance and actually get a backup center fielder this year.
Though those two extra-inning homers in the same game? Those were pretty cool. Always going to have fond memories of that game.