When the Phillies allowed Jayson Werth to sign a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals, it was all but assumed that Domonic Brown would step in and be the full-time starter.
That’s not quite the case.
Brown, after having a horrendous season in winter ball and an even worse spring training, broke his hand and will miss two months of action.
Ben Francisco has been pounding the cover off the ball all spring, but John Mayberry, Jr.’s outstanding performance throughout spring training has impressed Charlie Manuel enough that Mayberry may platoon with Francisco for the role.
Mayberry is as raw a ballplayer as they come, but he’s taken great strides to cut down his strikeouts. In his major-league career, the 6-foot-6 Mayberry has hit six home runs in just 69 at-bats, a home run per at bat ratio that ranks up there with the greatest to ever play the game. Mayberry also has a .536 career slugging percentage.
Then again, he strikes out over one-third of the time he steps up to the plate and he is just a .235 career hitter in the big leagues.
This spring, he has batted .294 and leads the team with five home runs and 11 RBIs this spring. Charlie Manuel, a hitting guru who knows potential when he sees it, has raved about Mayberry.
One scout had the following to say about Mayberry: “He’s made progress. He’s better than I’ve seen him. His pitch recognition seems to be much better. Much better ‘takes’ at the plate. And that’s always been a big thing with him.”
Francisco is a solid outfielder who is a great backup and borderline starter. The Phillies – for the most part – know what kind of a player he is. Mayberry has the chance to be something special.
It will be interesting to see how they share the time out there in right field.