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Phillies Should Resist Urge To Overuse John Mayberry

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Mayberry is having a terrific season mashing left-handed pitching. But that does not mean he should once again be an everyday player.

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We've been here before, guys. And it didn't work out too well the first time.

Bill Baer over at Crashburn Alley did a terrific job breaking down the stellar season so far of John Mayberry Jr., noting how the Phillies have been utilizing him in a role that is more suited to him than in years past.

On the season, Mayberry now has five home runs, 16 RBI, and a .273/.360/.591 slash line in 75 plate appearances. If we lower the playing time threshold low enough to include Mayberry, he has easily been the Phillies’ best hitter: his .410 weighted on-base average outpaces Chase Utley's .371 and Carlos Ruiz's .354.

...Entering this season, the percentage of his plate appearances with the platoon advantage was on a steady decline, from 41 percent in 2011 to 38 percent and 28 percent in the following two seasons. This year, it’s at 57 percent. He has a .324/.419/.703 slash line against lefties compared to .207/.281/.448 against right-handers. Coincidence? I think not. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, manager Ryne Sandberg has done a much better job of putting Mayberry into situations that put his strengths front and center.

This is an important point, especially as some are once again calling for Mayberry to become an everyday player.

We tried this before after the 2011 season when Mayberry hit .273/.341/.513 with a .368 wOBA in 296 PAs. That year he hit .250/.330/.455 in 176 PAs against right-handers, with Mayberry claiming he had corrected a flaw in his swing. The Phillies felt he deserved a chance to play every day, against both right-handers and left-handers.

In 2012, they gave him that chance, and in 479 PAs, he hit .245/.301/.395 with a wOBA of .303 overall, and against righties he was far worse, .229/.291/.335 in 275 PAs.

And for his career, Mayberry has hit .227/.294/.376 in 812 PAs against right-handed pitching. Conversely, against lefties, he's hit .278/.329/.540 in 495 career PAs.

He is a platoon player, and should be utilized as such.

Thankfully, as Baer noted above, the Phils have done a much job of using him in that capacity this year. And that is largely the reason why he is having more success.

Resist the urge to overexpose him. He is what he is, and that is versatile 1B/OF right-handed power bat that could help out a contending team and maybe bring back a half-decent prospect for the Phils.