John Mayberry was called up last week to take injured All Star center fielder Shane Victorino’s place on the roster. The Phillies figured he would be a suitable enough defensive replacement, but nobody expected Mayberry to provide much offense.
People may be thinking differently now.
In the Phillies' Friday night return to action from the All-Star break, Mayberry batted in five of the Phillies' seven runs. The game before that, vs. division foes Atlanta, Mayberry had four RBIs on three doubles. And earlier in the week? Well, John went deep twice in Florida against the Marlins.
On Friday night, Mayberry had a clutch one-out, bases-loaded single in the second inning that knocked in the first two runs of the game. His other three RBIs came on a two-out, bases-loaded double in the eighth inning of a 4-1 ballgame. Those three runs put the Phillies comfortably in the lead
In his six starts replacing Victorino he is batting .363 (8-22) with 12 RBIs, five doubles and two home runs. Not bad. And certainly not expected.
This is an extremely small sample size and as such there is probably not a lot that can be glommed from it. But one thing is for sure: He’s got some people thinking.
The Phillies could extend his playing time in the majors and give him some more opportunities to continue his hot streak. From there he will either sink or swim and his fate will work itself out.
With Placido Polanco on the DL, Pete Orr can be sent down to make room on the roster when Victorino returns on Tuesday of next week. Mayberry can platoon with either Raul Ibanez or Domonic Brown (or both) depending on the pitcher. The problem with this scenario is that you would be taking at-bats away from either Ibanez—who is equally as hot as Mayberry—or Brown, who seems to be just working himself into a groove. Also, it remains to be seen whether or not Mayberry can continue his hot streak if he’s made to sit for any length of time.
What to do?
Mayberry is showing a lot of promise. He’s not a heralded prospect, he wasn’t one of Baseball America’s top whatever prospects, no one has mentioned him as Rookie of the Year (he's technically not a rookie) and writers and television broadcasters rarely mention him. In a nutshell, he’s not a “sexy pick” for anything. But that doesn’t mean he can’t perform, produce and play.
Hey John, if you’re reading this I want you to know: I’m rooting for you. Go get ‘em.