On Monday night, Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. was the catalyst for the team’s victory against the Rockies in extra innings. With the game on the line in the 9th inning, Mayberry was the team’s final out, and he delivered a strong, patient at-bat that resulted in a two-run homerun to tie the game, propelling the team to their fourth straight win.
Mayberry is showing signs of development. The 27-year old has been swinging the bat well since his return from the minor leagues, and is climbing up the team’s depth chart, solidifying his spot on the roster.
Mayberry started the season on the roster out of necessity. The Phillies needed a fourth outfielder with Domonic Brown on the disabled list, and Mayberry was their best (and only) option. He was on the roster from Opening Day until June 1st, and hit .231 with three homeruns, 12 RBIs, and five doubles in 111 at-bats. The right-hander occasionally provided the team with a big hit, and played the outfield well, but ultimately was not impressive enough to stay with the team.
Mayberry got another chance to be in the majors in the beginning of July. Since his return from the minors, he has looked much more polished at the plate, and has been very productive off of the bench.
In July alone, Mayberry hit .300 with three homeruns, 14 RBIs, and eight doubles in just 50 at-bats. He’s been able to consistently provide a spark off of the bench, and has had a handful of big games (three RBIs against Florida on July 6th, four RBIs against Atlanta July 10th, five RBIs vs New York July 15th) that have helped the team win some games while Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have been struggling. His numbers from July completely surpassed his season totals from April and May combined.
Mayberry’s approach at the plate has been much better in the last month than it was earlier in the season. He has been much more patient, and hasn’t struggled as much with breaking pitches as he has in the past. He’s been biding his time, and waiting for the opposing pitcher to make a mistake. This is exactly what he did on Monday against Colorado closer Huston Street.
Thirteen of Mayberry’s last 17 hits have gone for extra-bases. His impressive play has led to him seeing more opportunities, and he continues to make the most of them. Right now, he has surpassed Ben Francisco as the team’s primary right-handed pinch hitter off of the bench, and with Ross Gload limited by hip and leg injuries, Mayberry is the only member of the bench that is a true power threat.
Whether or not Mayberry has truly turned a corner in his development remains to be seen, but the outfielder continues to come up strong when the Phillies need him. He’s playing very well off of the bench, and is earning more of Charlie Manuel’s confidence with each productive at-bat.