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John Mayberry Jr.

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John Mayberry Jr.
John Mayberry, Jr. (16156751174).jpg
Mayberry in 2015 with the Mets
Free agent
Outfielder
Born: (1983-12-21) December 21, 1983 (age 34)
Kansas City, Missouri
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 23, 2009, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
(through July 13, 2015)
Batting average .238
Hits 326
Home runs 56
Runs batted in 180
Teams
John Mayberry Jr.
Medal record
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
World University Championship
Gold medal – first place 2004 Tainan United States

John Claiborn Mayberry Jr. (born December 21, 1983) is an American professional baseball outfielder who is a free agent. He attended high school in Kansas City, and in the 2002 Major League Baseball draft, the Seattle Mariners drafted him out of high school (28th overall). However, he chose not to sign, instead attending Stanford, where he played three years before being drafted again. He also played for the United States national baseball team at the World University Baseball Championship in 2004. The Texas Rangers selected him in the 2005 Major League Baseball draft (19th overall). He played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.

Mayberry ascended through the Rangers' minor league system, ultimately reaching Triple-A level, by which point he was considered a legitimate major league prospect. In 2007, he began to amass strong power numbers in the minor leagues, and on November 20, 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired him. With the Phillies, he started in Triple-A, but was called up to the major league team in May. He hit a home run in his major league debut, but was sent back to the minors a few weeks later, and spent the majority of the 2009 and 2010 seasons there. He returned to the major league squad in 2010 as a September callup, and has remained there since, absent a short stint in Triple-A in 2011. In 2011, Mayberry played over 100 games, splitting time between outfield and first base, as well as pinch hitting. Statistically, 2011 was his best major league season. He remained with the big-league club in 2012, and played predominantly in left field early in the season, and subsequently as the team's everyday center fielder following the departure of Shane Victorino via trade. In 2012 and 2013 his performance declined, specifically in terms of batting average.

Mayberry has been used predominantly as a starting outfielder, despite some suggesting he is better suited as a platoon player. As a hitter, he hits for power relatively well, but strikes out frequently. He is a good athlete, and thus has good speed, however does not steal many bases. Defensively, he is "adequate", and possesses a relatively strong and accurate arm. Mayberry has a degree in political science from Stanford. His father, John Mayberry, Sr., played in the major leagues for over a decade.

Early life

Mayberry attended Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. While there, the National High School Baseball Coaches Association named him a first-team All-USA player and third-team All-American. He hit over .400 in both his junior and senior years of high school, where he also played basketball.[1] Mayberry was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2002 Major League Baseball draft (28th overall)[2] but did not sign, choosing instead to attend Stanford University.[1] He was the highest-drafted player from the 2002 draft who chose to attend a four-year college instead of signing a contract.[1][3]

Mayberry played three years for the Stanford Cardinal baseball team, and, along with fellow future major league infielder Jed Lowrie, formed the "heart" of Stanford's batting order.[4] As a freshman in 2003, he had a 16-game hitting streak[1] and hit four home runs, batting .299 with 33 runs batted in (RBI).[5] During the summer of 2003, he also played for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League, batting .375. During his sophomore season, he was named a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and a midseason All-Star by Baseball America.[1] As a sophomore, he batted .333 with 16 home runs, 62 RBI, and 9 stolen bases.[5] In 2004, he played with Team USA at the FISU World University Baseball Championship in Taiwan.[6] Mayberry's junior year, which was his last at Stanford, was his best with the team. He amassed 22 multi-hit games to lead the team;[1] his batting average for the season was .303.[5] His .996 fielding percentage was also fourth in the Pac-10 conference, with only 2 errors in 501 chances.[1][5] He also had five hitting streaks of six games or more throughout the season.[1] Upon finishing his career, Mayberry was ranked second among active Stanford players behind Lowrie in multi-hit games, multi-RBI games, and home runs.[1] After his junior season, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2005 Major League Baseball draft (19th overall).[7]

Professional career

Minor leagues

John Mayberry Jr. with the Clinton LumberKings

After being drafted, Mayberry was assigned by the Rangers to the Spokane Indians in the Northwest League, with whom he transitioned from first base to outfield.[8] In the short season, he hit 11 home runs with a .253 batting average.[9] In 2006, Mayberry was promoted to the A-level Clinton LumberKings. He hit four triples and stole nine bases during the season, while batting .268 and hitting 21 home runs.[5] He split 2007 between the high-A Bakersfield Blaze and double-A Frisco RoughRiders, where he stole a career-high 16 bases between the two teams.[9] Mayberry displayed a power outburst during the 2007 season, hitting 30 home runs between the two minor league levels;[5] for the season, Baseball America named him the fifth-best prospect in the Rangers' farm system, up from tenth in 2006.[5]

With 20 home runs and 137 hits between Frisco and the Oklahoma RedHawks in 2008, Mayberry continued to show major league potential. In his first 32 at-bats at the Triple-A, he had 16 hits, including a 5-hit performance in the fourth game after his call-up.[10] In what Philadelphia Phillies general manager Rubén Amaro, Jr. called a "speed for power swap", Mayberry was traded to the Phillies on November 20, 2008 for outfielder Greg Golson.[11]

Beginning the 2009 season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Mayberry opened the season hitting 8 home runs and 25 RBI, with a .277 batting average. In need of an extra bat off the bench for interleague play, the Phillies promoted Mayberry to the major leagues on May 22.[12]

Philadelphia Phillies

Mayberry with the Phillies in 2010

2009

The Phillies called Mayberry up to the major league squad for the first time on May 22, 2009. The next day, in his first major league game, Mayberry got his first career hit, a three-run home run off of Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees.[13] After his second brief stint of the year in the minor leagues, he returned to the Phillies when left fielder Raúl Ibáñez went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin. Mayberry promptly proceeded to hit another home run in his return to the majors, this time off of Dirk Hayhurst of the Toronto Blue Jays.[14] Several years later, a piece in The Philadelphia Daily News commented, "He has always had the physical tools that cause an organization to dream, as the Rangers did when they selected him in the first round in 2005. But by 2009, that dream had been replaced by what they thought was reality: his swing was too long, his eye indiscriminate, his on base percentage low."[15]

2010

Mayberry played only 11 games with the Phillies in 2010, spending the majority of the season (128 games) at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, with whom he hit .267 with 15 home runs and 65 RBIs.[9] 2010 marked the first year during which Mayberry spent multiple stints in the major and minor leagues, which he described as "different".[16] He did earn a September callup, and "made a case" to have a place on the Phillies' postseason roster,[15] but was assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League (AFL) instead; he left the AFL after just one game with a leg injury.[17]

2011

Mayberry made the Phillies' opening day roster for the first time, and recorded the game-winning RBI via a pinch hit single in the Phillies' first game, but was optioned back to the minors after the Phillies activated Shane Victorino from the disabled list in early June.[18] Subsequently, Mayberry returned to the big-league club when Victorino went back to the disabled list.[19] Throughout 2011, Mayberry did not have a defined role on the club. In August, columnist David Murphy wrote, "While the Phillies may not see evidence that Mayberry should be part of their everyday plans, it is getting hard to ignore the two huge offensive tools he brings to the table: immense power, and a curious ability to hit when it counts." He added, "Charlie Manuel has always seemed to have a soft spot in his heart for Mayberry. And, more importantly, he has always seemed to have a knack for when to put him into a game."[15] Manuel compared Mayberry to former Phillie Jayson Werth in terms of their size, athleticism, and the fact that they both hit better against left-handed pitching than right-handed pitching, noting that he planned to give Mayberry a chance to start if Ben Francisco floundered;[20] ultimately, the Phillies traded away Francisco after the season, in part due to Mayberry's emergence.[21] He finished the season with a .273 batting average, .854 OPS and 15 home runs in 104 games, and made his postseason debut in the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals that September.[22]

2012

John Mayberry Jr. slides into second base in a game on June 8, 2012

After a productive 2011 season during which he "excited fans" and seemed like "a sure bet to crack at least 25 (home runs) the following year and maybe drive in 100 runs",[23] Mayberry's performance instead declined significantly, hitting just .245 (a 28-point drop), albeit with similar power numbers (14 home runs and 46 runs batted in compared to 15 and 49 respectively in 2011).[24] After a poor start to the season, some sportswriters questioned whether the Phillies should have prioritized finding a left fielder in free agency to supplant him,[25] who entered the season platooning in left field with Juan Pierre. Mayberry's slump continued into May – on May 1, he held a .204 batting average – and ultimately, Pierre excelled to the point that he became the de facto everyday starter, leaving Mayberry on the bench until late July, when the Phillies traded both Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, forcing Mayberry to see action, predominantly in center field.[26][27] Though he played well in August (batting .290), he struggled through September, and expectations were relatively low headed into the offseason. A season-in-review article from SBNation.com opined, "(His) adequate defense at all three outfield positions makes him a decent fourth outfielder/bench bat, but at age 29 in 2013, the time for hoping that Mayberry finally puts his significant physical and intellectual gifts together to become an above-average Major League Baseball player appear to have gone completely."[26]

2013

Mayberry entered the season looking to bounce back from a rather tumultuous 2012 campaign, and was considered a solid bench player who can make occasional starts in the outfield. Baseball statistician Bill James projected Mayberry would hold a .257 batting average and hit 11 home runs in 306 plate appearances.[28] Despite being projected as a bench player, Mayberry was the Phillies' opening day right fielder, and batted seventh in the opening day starting lineup, as Delmon Young, acquired to be the starting right fielder, was injured.[29][30] On June 4, 2013, Mayberry hit a walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning against the Miami Marlins 7–3. The preceding inning, he hit a solo home run to tie the game. By doing so, he became the first player in Major League history to hit two extra-inning home runs, the second of which being a grand slam.[31] Ultimately, Mayberry played in 134 games, recording just a .227 batting average, 11 home runs, and 39 runs batted in.[32] After the season, the Phillies tendered a contract to him despite external pressure not to do so. Ruben Amaro Jr. commented that he sees Mayberry as a valuable player off the bench for a relatively cheap price. Bill Baer, a writer for Crashburn Alley, a Phillies blog sponsored by ESPN, countered, "Everything Amaro said there is accurate. Mayberry is not starter-caliber; he is an ideal platoon partner in the outfield or at first base. The only problem is that the Phillies had some ideal situations to use Mayberry in specifically that way and Amaro either did not realize it or ignored it."[33]

2014

Mayberry entered the season a maligned member of the Phillies bench whom many writers thought was not worth his salary (US$1,500,000), but nevertheless, he made the opening day roster.[34][35] Despite the preseason pessimism, Mayberry was successful early in the season, particularly as a pinch hitter – as of June 13, he was 9-for-19 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. He also started several games at first base, predominantly against left-handed pitchers.[36] This success led some to suggest the Mayberry would have value in a potential trade, as the Phillies were not expected to make the playoffs, and thus might prefer to get a prospect for future seasons.[37][38] However, most attributed Mayberry's success to the fact that the Phillies used him in an appropriate role, rather than trying to utilize him every day.[39]

Toronto Blue Jays

On August 31, 2014, Mayberry was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league infielder Gustavo Pierre.[40] He made his debut for Toronto on September 4, when he was put into the game against the Tampa Bay Rays to pinch-hit for Adam Lind. Before he could bat, Tampa Bay made a pitching change, and Mayberry was himself pinch-hit for by Colby Rasmus. He would go on to play in 15 games for the Blue Jays in 2014, and batted .208 with 1 home run and 2 RBI.[41] On December 2, Mayberry was non-tendered by the Blue Jays, making him a free agent.[42]

New York Mets

On December 11, 2014, Mayberry signed a one-year contract with the New York Mets.[43] After hitting .164 over 119 plate appearances, Mayberry was designated for assignment on July 24, 2015,[44] and released on July 30.

Mayberry with the Mets appeared in 59 games with .164 batting average in 110 at-bats in 119 plate appearances while compiling 18 hits, 9 walks, 9 RBIs, 3 home runs and 8 runs scored.

Chicago White Sox

On August 7, 2015, Mayberry signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox.[45] On August 26, 2015, Mayberry was released by the White Sox.[46]

Detroit Tigers

On January 13, 2016, the Detroit Tigers signed Mayberry to a minor-league contract and invited him to spring training.[47] He was released by the Tigers on April 1, 2016.[48]

Player profile

Offense

The Phillies initially acquired Mayberry for his power hitting potential, and throughout his ascent through the minor leagues, he hit double-digit home runs, but his plate discipline was poor, as he struck out on over 20% of plate appearances.[49] According to ESPN hot zones, Mayberry hits pitches in the middle of the plate belt-high, as well as pitches down and inside the best, while he struggles predominantly on outside pitches.[50] Mayberry has long been considered a good athlete, and finally honed his speed to translate it to success on the basepaths – he stole many bases in the minor leagues, but only 14 in the major leagues.[51][52] The Hardball Times once published a piece that compared his hitting ability to that of Mike Morse in terms of their similar power hitting ability.[49] From 2011–2013, Mayberry performed significantly better against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers. Against lefties, he totaled 21 home runs and 53 RBIs in 377 at bats with a batting average of .273, whereas against righties, he totaled 19 home runs and 81 RBIs in 684 at bats with a batting average of .231.[53] Kenny Ayres, a writer for Phillies Nation, commented that "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" in regards to his 2013 season.[23]

Defense

The recurring term throughout the media used describe Mayberry's defense is "adequate".[26][52] Over the years, he has seen significant time at all three outfield positions. Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel preferred him as a corner outfielder, however when the Phillies traded away Shane Victorino, Mayberry was the predominant center fielder for the remainder of the season in 2012.[54] In 2013, Mayberry played 79 games in right field, 46 in center field, 9 in left field, and 7 at first base.[55] He has a strong throwing arm from the outfield that is fairly accurate.[56][57]

Personal life

A year after he was drafted, Mayberry completed his degree in political science from Stanford in 2006.[51] In 2011, Mayberry made headlines when reports surfaced that he sought to use his agents to get a date with Antoinette Nikprelaj, a mermaid in Pirates of the Caribbean; unbeknownst to him, however, she was already married and had a daughter, and this led to embarrassment both to him and his agent.[58][59] Mayberry's father, John Mayberry, Sr., played 15 seasons of Major League Baseball, predominantly as a member of the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays.[60]

See also

References

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External links