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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Training: where young players are showered with undeserved praise

John Mayberry Jr. is a 25-year-old Phillies prospect. A 6-foot-6 outfielder, he joined the Phillies system late last year, and he has yet to appear in a major league game.

There were talks of Mayberry's possible promotion to the Phils last year. At that point, I took a glance at his stats, and I was less than impressed. In the minor leagues, he has a career OBP of .325, and he has never posted an OBP above .322 at a level higher than A ball. However, he did smack 20 homers in 519 at-bats last season, not too bad.

Some people think because he is so big and he physically resembles Ryan Howard, that Mayberry will follow in Howard's footsteps. Take David Murphy, for example, who penned an article today titled: "In the early going, athletic Mayberry coming up big for Phillies." Coming up big? You don't say.

Murphy's only evidence for Mayberry's "coming up big" is as follows:

In the Phillies' 12-7 win over the Blue Jays yesterday that evened their spring record at 3-3, he hit an RBI double down the leftfield line off lefthander Brian Burres in the eighth inning. Earlier, he collected an RBI on a groundout, improving his spring total to a team-high five.

Not only did Mayberry pull the impossible by knocking a double, but he did it off...Brian Burres!!! Mr. Burres is the proud owner of a 1.655 career WHIP. But, don't forget about that RBI groundout.

I'm sure Mayberry has a nice swing and some fantastic power. However, watch how Murphy tries to make the audience believe Mayberry is better than he truly is:

In short, the righthanded-hitting outfielder might not be the one-tool player casual observers envisioned when they heard that the Phillies had traded for a player who hit .263 with 16 home runs in 437 at-bats for the Rangers' Triple A club in Oklahoma last season.

"He has the total package," hitting coach Milt Thompson said. "Great arm, power, speed - and I think he's going to hit for average."

That last category is the one to which Mayberry is devoting most of his time.

Note Murphy's labeling of those who doubted Mayberry as "casual observers." Well, Mr. Murphy, that "casual observer" is probably someone like me, who had 8 seconds to spare when he first read about Mayberry. This casual observer probably typed "john mayberry jr stat" into Google, saw John Mayberry Jr.'s mediocre minor league stats, and realized that John Mayberry Jr. was a mediocre minor leaguer, thus implying probable failure at the major league level.

You, on the other hand, are writing an article - clearly written only for the sake of writing, probably hurried by a deadline - and your entire premise is based on a dude who has 5 hits in 13 spring at-bats.* Keep up the good work, and keep the contrived articles coming our way.

*And an RBI groundout.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Philadelphia has needed a new eye clinic since Jermane left town.