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The News Journal's David Hale notes that John Mayberry Jr. has become a regular - a regular benchwarmer. The Philadelphia Phillies' road tilt with the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday makes it only three starts in the last 16 team games for the big (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) right-handed hitter who was a sleeper to many entering the season.
Mayberry taking back seat
Charlie Manuel intended to give Mayberry a chance to demonstrate that the outfielder-first baseman deserved regular at-bats. Apparently, Mayberry didn't state his case. The argument became more difficult when the Phils brought in Laynce Nix and Juan Pierre and re-signed Scott Podsednik - all left-handed hitters who were candidates for PT in left field.
Mayberry hasn't helped his cause. He has a .204/.204/.245 slash line in his 45 plate appearances. Yep, no walks. This club has trouble putting runs on the board as it is. If you don't have a track record and you aren't hitting, it won't be long before Manuel moves on.
Unsurprisingly, Pierre slowly emerged as a Manuel favorite. Old-school managers, who make decisions based on their instincts, have tended to reward Pierre for "the way he plays the game" or "how he goes about his business" with playing time. Even for the last few years, when he's clearly no longer been nearly the agitator that made him a staple of Florida Marlins lineups. He's no longer reliable on the base paths, and his almost acceptable defense (because he contributed on offense) has been on the decline for some time.
Pierre isn't totally devoid of value to a real baseball team. He just has more of it to a fantasy baseball team. He's 21-for-66 (.318) to begin the season, and he's stolen three bases in five attempts. Philly's skipper will likely continue to ensure that he's a deep-mixed roto asset.
Mayberry's results against righties improved last year, and he's drawn walks much more frequently against such pitchers. The personnel deck was stacked the deck against him, however, and it's highly unlikely that he gets another chance to prove his worth against them in 2012 without a couple of cards falling.
Those in mixed leagues have little reason to remain loyal to Mayberry. Probably the best he can hope for is to regain Manuel's trust enough to avoid losing at-bats versus southpaws in left field. The Phils have been using their other options at first base. Chase Utley (chronically sore knees) could play there some when he returns. And Ryan Howard is pretty close to resuming baseball activities.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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