Falling for John Mayberry

I never could've predicted how much I appreciate him right now

Toward the end of July, the Phillies were preparing to make a move to solidify themselves as the best team in the Bigs. That move ended up being the trade of a handful of prospects to the Stros for Hunter Pence—a transaction that exploited the Ed Wade friends-and-family discount Phillies fans have come to love and has, thus far, produced great results (#goodgameletsgoeat).

Leading up to the deadline, I was convinced that the Phils had to go out and get Pence. The team needed a right-handed bat in the outfield and the Braves were also in talks with Houston—Pence with a tomahawk across his chest might have made for a difficult couple of months for Philadelphia.

At the time, no reasonable price—even if it were a bit inflated—would have been too steep. I thought the team needed to be willing to part with the Vanimal and/or John Mayberry Jr. if it came to that. My thinking was that Worley was pitching well but is really an unknown commodity at this point, and Mayberry is—more or less—a 27-year-old prospect.

As it turns out, the outfielder seems to be more valuable than I originally gave him credit for.

In a second half where Pence has gotten (and deserved) more buzz than Watch the Throne and the Phils/Giants melee was more talked about than UFC 133 just across Pattison, John Mayberry Jr. has been a revelation. He filled in suitably during Victorino’s two-game suspension last week and has been knocking in runs pretty much every time he gets a spot start in left field for an aging Ibanez.

He’s batting .270 and has 11 home runs in 189 at bats through 74 games. Since the All-Star break, he’s fifth among NL outfielders in OPS and sports a .318 average. This season he’s had less at bats per home run than MVP candidate Ryan Braun and is sporting a .878 slugging percentage in the last 30 days.

He’s tied for sixth among NL outfielders in home runs since the All-Star break, and all six have come in his 41 at bats in the past month. He’s notching extra-base hits at a higher rate (PA/EBH) than Matt Kemp and Jay Bruce. And he’s doing all of it for less than half of what Arlene Ackerman got paid to stop showing up for work.

The Red Sox are paying Carl Crawford $14 million this season, and the Mets are paying Bobby Bonilla $1.19 million this year while the Phils are paying Mayberry just over $400K.

A few months ago, I would have said that Two and a Half Men sans tiger blood had a better shot at being a success this fall than Mayberry did. Now, that premise seems as ridiculous as Sheen’s rants.

John Mayberry Jr. won’t be in the Hall of Fame—hell, he may not even be on next year’s roster. But—right now—while Ibanez can’t be in the lineup everyday, Rollins is on the DL, Polanco is playing through a sports hernia, and Domonic Brown’s development seems so stagnant even the Slowski’s are growing impatient, he’s a great fit for the Phillies.