Every day this month, we here at Philthy Stuff will be counting down the New Year's resolutions of each member on the Phillies, and what they can do to guide this team back to October. Next up, John Mayberry Jr..
Last season, Phillies' fans were witness to a bit of a coming out party for one of the organization's prospects, when a young outfielder broke out and had himself the kind of season that made heads turn and fans notice. Only, it wasn't the prospect that everyone expected.
While Domonic Brown is on track to be the star of the future for the Phillies, it was Mayberry who made a big splash in The Show in 2011. Mayberry went from journeyman outfielder to legitimate big leaguer on the back of a breakout season that saw the right-hander hit 15 homers with a line of .273/.341/.513 in 104 games.
It was the first time that Mayberry experienced the joy of being an actual major leaguer and not just a roster filler being shuttled back and forth between the minors. If he wants to continue this run, he's got quite a bit of work to do.
Staying Power: One of the toughest things to do in sports is to hit a baseball with power and consistency because opposing pitchers are always looking for new ways to exploit the hitter's weakness. Most often, pitchers are successful, especially with younger players who burst onto the scene. After all, baseball is rife with guys who showed a flurry of power early on, only to fade into obscurity as opposing teams got wise to the scouting report.
For Mayberry (and for any big league hitter, really), being able to make adjustments is key to his success. While he did show an improvement against right-handed pitchers last season, he'll need to keep improving until it's not a matter of if he will play, but how much.
Consistency Is the Key: For any young player, their growth is dependent on a steady amount of playing time because it's really difficult to get better if you ride the pine. For Mayberry, who was the benefactor of injuries to the outfielders, as well as Raul Ibanez's inability to hit a left-handed pitcher, it was his ticket to the show. Known for being a powerful hitter without a great deal of plate discipline, he made his time count with a power display that did not come at the expense of getting on-base.
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If the 28-year-old outfielder wants to keep rising, he'll need to find more at-bats in 2012. And with Ryan Howard out for the foreseeable future, and with the team not quite ready to commit to Brown in left field, Mayberry should get plenty of chances to play.