Philadelphia Phillies: The Rise of John Mayberry, Jr.

Drew MillerContributor IISeptember 6, 2011

John Mayberry Jr. has been an excellent surprise for the Phillies this season.
John Mayberry Jr. has been an excellent surprise for the Phillies this season.Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

During today's game against the Atlanta Braves, in an interview, Philadelphia Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross was asked if he saw "this" coming from John Mayberry Jr.

His answer was, "I wish I could say I did."

Before this season, John Mayberry Jr. was considered a quadruple-A player; too advanced for the minors but not talented enough to succeed in the majors.

He was known throughout the organization by his father, John Mayberry Sr., who played 15 MLB seasons and was a two-time All-Star.

The past few seasons John Jr. has been called up, but had not shown he could be a starter in the future for the Phillies.

Now, John's name is almost expected to be on the lineup card every night, taking time in left field away from Raul Ibanez

In only 84 games, Mayberry is hitting .262 with 13 HR and 44 RBI. To put these numbers in perspective, in 132 games Jayson Werth only has 18 HR and 52 RBI. 

Mayberry has proven he deserves to be the starting left fielder over Ibanez with his recent success. Unlike Raul, he has shown he can consistently hit left-handed pitchers, which  has earned John most of his playing time.

Mayberry has hit .286 with over half his HR (7) and has recorded 17 RBI against lefties. Ibanez hits only .198 against lefties. 

It will be interesting to see how Charlie Manuel handles the Mayberry/Ibanez situation towards the end of the season and the playoffs, but recently he has seemed to favor Mayberry.