2013 Player Reviews

Phillies Nation Player Review: John Mayberry Jr.

It seems like ages ago when John Mayberry Jr. excited fans with 15 homers, 49 RBI and a .275 average in just 104 games in 2011. He seemed like a sure bet to crack at least 25 the following year and maybe drive in 100 runs. Now it’s two years later and he hasn’t even achieved those numbers in the 2012 and 2013 seasons combined, in almost 800 at bats.

Mayberry's rough season was put on halt June 4, when he led the Phillies to the win with two extra inning homers, including the walk-off winner.

Mayberry’s rough season was put on halt June 4, when he led the Phillies to the win with two extra inning homers, including the walk-off winner.

This season was certainly one to forget for the 29-year-old outfielder. What started out as a decent first three months (.255 average, 13 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBI) quickly turned sour when the All-Star break and second half rolled around.

In the second half of the season Mayberry did not even break the Mendoza line, hitting just .199 from the midway point through the end of the season. His tough season at the dish culminated in a one home run one RBI month of September, complete with a .175 average, .214 on base percentage and sub .500 OPS for the month.

One of the most frustrating aspects of Mayberry’s season was his lack of timely hitting, even when he was in the midst of stretches where he was swinging the bat well. Throughout the course of the year he batted just .220 with runners in scoring position, which lowered to .091 in 44 at bats with runners in scoring position and two outs. He struck out ten more times (90) than he had hits (80).

Mayberry’s decline has been alarmingly quick. He has regressed in home runs, RBI, average, OBP, slugging percentage and OPS each season since 2011, and his once sharp defense has become suspect. Often times this season Mayberry misjudged fly balls and took bad bounces off the wall-things that may not show up in the error column sometimes, yet still made a difference.

Mayberry’s big day in 2013 came on June 4 against Miami, when he blasted two home runs in extra innings and drove in five to propel the Phillies to a win. Unfortunately, that game was surrounded by struggles. Leading up to that day, he had gone 24 of 25 games without driving in a run, and after June 4 it took him almost a month’s worth of games before he had another two home runs and five runs batted in combined.

Mayberry finished the season going just 2-for-14 in his last seven games with no extra base hits or runs batted in, ending the worst campaign of his young career.

Grade: D. It’s hard to give him an F because he did at least provide some bits of production, but the regression at a time when a (fairly) young ballplayer should be developing is alarming. He hasn’t been injured, and he has been getting at bats, but his production in 2013 slipped below the acceptable mark. Between the long looping swing, chasing sliders three feet outside and his frustrating tendency to try to pull everything, Mayberry has earned just about as low a score for the season as a position player can have.





  1. bacardipr

    November 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I never for a second thought Mayberry would be a star. I did think he could be a solid bench piece. I think it may be time for Rube to look at another option. Who knows maybe hell break out with another club.

  2. hk

    November 9, 2013 at 5:55 am


    I think the team’s use (or misuse) of Mayberry has to be factored into this grade. By the end of 2012, the Phils had to know what Mayberry was, a mediocre fielder and base runner with one positive attribute, the ability to hit LHP’s. In that context, 12 months ago he seemed like a very good, cheap option to platoon in RF with Nate Schierholtz. Prior to 2013, 40.5% (344 of 848) of Mayberry’s career PA’s were vs. LHP’s. Last year, only 28.1% (108 of 384) of Mayberry’s PA’s were vs. LHP’s. Considering that his career wOBA’s are .360 vs. LHP’s and .290 vs. RHP’s, I think that, if he had been used differently, he could have been a more effective player, but that his results were in large part because he’s a round peg that was used to try to fit into a square hole.

  3. Ryne Duren

    November 9, 2013 at 10:14 am

    That’ll be a really big pass on him. I’ve seen enough of him. The only thing he’s proved while on this team is the fact that he’s a player with good athletic potential that doesn’t utilize it. He’s nothing as a fringe player, there are way too many in baseball just like him.
    I’m old school I guess! My opinion of why there are so many players like him? Too many teams. The major leagues should be or used to be the best of the best. Not any more, hasn’t been for some time now. The amount of teams there are today waters down the product we are seeing. And the same thing goes for all the other sports. Sad to say but that’s the way it is and we’re stuck with it fella’s. 30 years ago most of these guys wouldn’t have seen the light of day on a major league roster.
    Well enough of my dribble. Pass on him and give someone else a shot. Can that person be just as inept? Hopefully they get someone who’s a tad better, or a little smarter. For a Stanford grad I expected more from him . Then again Rube’s a Stanford grad! never mind.

    • wbramh

      November 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      I don’t believe a player’s smarts and athleticism (and JMJ is athletic and smart) plays deep into his ability to be either a physically talented ball player or a particularly smart one.
      Neither Enrico Fermi nor Michael Jordan could make that grade.
      He is what he is, a nice kid who hopefully will rediscover what he did right when he was showing some potential and be able to survive somewhere in the league for a few more years. I wish him luck – which is more than I can say for another right field experimentee.

      As for watered-down talent in the league, that’s an interesting question. While there were only 16 teams in MLB during my formative years,, black players had only just begun to take the field and Latin American players were still very scarce. Japanese players were still decades away from from breaking into our leagues in a big way. There was no immediate flood gate opening after Murakami was signed by the Giants back in 1964 and the rest of the World had next to zero to offer. The Dominican has become a rich source of players in recent decades but the first Dominican-born player to make it in The Bigs was Ozzie Virgil back in 1956 – and Ozzie was recruited by the Giants out of Dewitt Clinton High in New York and not scouted in the Islands.

      Added to the fact that the rest of the World was barely mined for talent compared to day’s game is the fact that our domestic population has doubled in the last 60 years (the World’s population even more so). You have to wonder why .220 hitting players are starting in MLB. Yes, other sports like football have attracted some potential stars but in reality there are few athletes that can play in multiple sports at the professional level and fewer yet who can be stars in each of those sports.

      I suppose an argument can be made that heavier use of relief pitching has helped to lower batting averages. Pitching in general has likely evolved faster than batting which may account for the lack of a single .400 hitter since Williams accomplished the feat back in 1941. Fences are closer in which may lead to more homers but it also means that less balls are in play. Additionally, with few notable exceptions, today’s fielders are far more athletic than those of the past if not always as skilled at playing the ball. In general, I would give the edge to today’s SSs and 2Bs in every department over players I watched in the 50’s and 60’s – again, with few exceptions.

      All that said, why is it so hard to find a competent starting four or a great middleman or closer?

      Beats me.

      • George

        November 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        I tend to disagree that today’s .220 hitters wouldn’t have made the grade way back when. Thirty years ago, I witnessed too many of those types, particularly on the Phils. Even going back further, before expansion, there were some true dogs warming benches and doing mop-up out of the pen. I don’t think any of those guys were any better than the modern day Mayberrys and perhaps even the modern day MiniMarts.

        As far as finding a competent starting four, or a great middle man or closer, I think in those cases teams have always had trouble with that. Again, the Phils come to mind, namely, the 1930 version. There are never very many Koufaxes, Marichals, Carltons, Gossages, or Riveras. And only once (if memory serves) was there a team (the Orioles) with four 20 game winners in the same year. Remember the old Braves’ rotation: Spahn and Sain and pray for rain?

  4. Ryan

    November 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    He is not even “fairly” young anymore. He will be THIRTY years old by the time X-mas rolls around.

    At this point, he is at least three seasons removed from a time when he would have still been developing. At this point he is someone else’s first round BUST that we have let linger around for several years now. He should have been released years ago. Now the moron GM is going to pay him for another year. Both should be gone from this team.

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