Dollar a day: John Mayberry Jr.

Ryan Howard? Injured.
Raul Ibanez? Run outta town.
Domonic Brown? Needs more polishing.

Enter John Mayberry Jr., this year’s Michael Morse, and the Phillies’ de facto first baseman for the first two months, and presumed left fielder from there on out.

Don’t believe me about the Michael Morse comparison? Their half-season breakouts are strikingly similar. Behold:


The readily apparent difference is that Mayberry possesses much more speed. Both had concerns in development; Morse’s position, focus, cleanliness (I don’t mean hygienically, but in terms of HGH testing) and pedigree was all in question. For Mayberry, it was plate discipline, plate discipline, and more plate discipline.

He’s always been a gifted athlete but finally harnessed his speed in his third go-round at Triple-A (in and of itself a glaring question mark, I know), where he stole 20 bags. He’d hit for double digit power at five previous levels, including twice in Triple-A, but scared off scouts with his consistent 20 percent or higher strikeout rates.

In 2011, though, Mayberry swung less outside of the zone, and made contact more when he did; he swung and missed, additionally, on nearly 10 percent fewer pitches. As a result, his 267 at-bat cameo (similar, again, to Morse’s 266 at-bat foreshadowing in 2010) yielded a respectable 18.6 percent strikeout rate.

So: your last pick? Make it this year’s power breakout.

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  1. Mark Himmelstein said...

    I’m on the Mayberry bandwagon. The only other question seems to me how they handle him position-wise. Do they have him start the year in left field? It’d be nice if they go the first base route and ensure him dual eligibility (he already has it in 10-game requirement leagues like Yahoo, but not 20 like ESPN, where the dual eligibility carries more value in standard formats since they have just three man benches and a CI slot). If he starts at first, who starts in left? Juan Pierre? If its Dominic Brown could that create a playing time riks later in the year for Mayberry? Obviously, for $1 his 25 HR 10 SB potential makes the risks pretty irrelevant, but aside from actual production those are the questions I have with him.

  2. Jacob Rolling Rothberg said...

    Who do you like more this year (because they seem like comparable guys) Lahair or Mayberry?

  3. Ben Pritchett said...

    I agree that Mayberry is easily worth a dollar in all decently sized leagues, but I don’t think the comparison to Morse is fair to how good Morse is…

    I understand that all these stats look very similar on the surface, but if you dig farther there are some key differences. Look at the batting averages. I see that Mayberry had his best AVG year of his entire career including the Minors at .273. Is he getting things together? Maybe.

    Morse is a career .296 hitter. Even if you take into account the similar BABIPs and CT% to Mayberry, there’s an element where you have to see where one hitter is superior than the other. That means his carrer average AVG is .023 points higher. That’s pretty strong. For the sake of argument, let’s equate that .023 to the 10+ SBs that Mayberry offers over Morse.

    If they are still equal check out these HR scatter plots from Hit Tracker:

    John Mayberry Jr.

    Michael Morse

    Pretty amazing, huh. Morse is a far superior hitter even if the advanced stats say differently.

    Don’t even get me started on HR distance. Morse had 11 homers over 425 real distance. Mayberry had zero.

    Morse average true distance was 412.5 to Mayberry’s 392.5. Rounding Morse’s distance up to 413, means that Mayberry only hit two of his 15 homers farther than that (416, 417). He had two at 413.

    Don’t take it wrong, I like Mayberry a lot especially late in drafts. I have him targetted in my NL Only league, but I think the world of what Morse could be. Mayberry will never measure up to him. Write that down. But I love this article idea, Nick.

  4. Nick Fleder said...

    If Morse goes 25/10/.265 with 90 RBIs and 75 runs (similar to Morse’s numbers), he’d be worth 17 bucks in a std league.

    I’d prefer him to Bryan LaHair, and will go in depth later.

  5. Randy said...

    I think they’ll play Thome more at 1B early in the season than Mayberry, with Wiggy gettin at-bats there as well. It doesn’t make sense to start the season with Brown in the majors nor does it make sense to have Mayberry playing the easier position if you intend on playing him in LF longer term. The one caveat is if they think Howard will struggle to get healthy and play regularly when he returns. Why else would you sign Thome and Wigginton? I think Manuel intends to use them a lot.

  6. Kevin said...

    The word here in Philadelphia is that Thome will receive about 25 starts at 1B over the course of the season. I would imagine about half of those occur while Howard is out (which is looking more and more like June now with the set back).

    If I had to guess, you’ll see a three-way timeshare with Wigginton, Thome, and Mayberry at 1B for two months, with Mayberry and Pierre splitting time in left field, with a guess that Mayberry plays 4-5x per week.

    The Phillies aren’t exactly the most intelligent organization, so don’t assume they will do the smart thing here.

  7. Ben Skalina said...

    @Ben Pritchett

    I think a more apt comp on HR distance would be Mayberry ‘11 against Morse ‘10:

    Morse ‘10:

    JMJ ‘11

    The difference becomes smaller, no? Morse still averaged about 10 ft more per home run, largely because of his power to all fields.

    Mayberry basically pulls all of his home runs. Given that spray pattern, and the relatively cozy confines of Citizens Bank, the distance disparity doesn’t seem as important.

    Granted, Morse’s power is more versatile, but last year’s Mayberry with a full season of at-bats could well pop 25 homers, and if he improves slightly 30 is not out of the reach (with a full season of ABs).

  8. Ben Pritchett said...

    I totally see your point Ben Skalina. My main use of those Hittracker HR plots was to accentuate the kind of hitter Morse is compared to JMJ. You’re right that the HR difference is smaller when comparing 2010 to 2011, but the way Morse hits his HRs to all fields is the more important point I wanted to show. Guys that spray power tend to be the more prime power guys. Morse showed incredible growth that JMJ can’t possibly do as a pull-hitter. I know what you’re thinking but JMJ doesn’t have the power of Bautista so don’t use the Joey Bats is a pull hitter argument.

    I would also agree with you that 25 HRs is within reach IF he gets enough at bats. I don’t see him ever being able to match up with Morse, and that was my beef. I will try to contain my Morse love affair. If you think I love Morse too much get ready for what I have to say about Dan Uggla.

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