Analysis: Mayberry for Golson

The Phillies made a move Thursday to potentially fill a hole in left field that could be created by the exit of Pat Burrell. By bringing John Mayberry to town, the Phillies may have fired a shot across the bow of Burrell's free agency.

Mayberry got off to an excellent start in Triple-A [.311 in his first 219 at-bats] before stumbling late [.216 in his last 218]. The 6-foot-6 Stanford product still has his light-tower power—and he continued to cut down on his strikeouts—but he is still an inconsistent hitter.

That's how LoneStarDugout.com summarized John Mayberry on their list of the Top 50 Rangers prospects just about one week ago.

Mayberry does in fact have impressive power potential, but will tend to struggle from time-to-time as many power hitters do. One stat that jumps out in this deal though is strikeout ratios. In the minors, Mayberry has struck out once every 4.1 at bats, while Golson has whiffed once every 3.3 at bats. It's interesting, because Mayberry is the power-hitter of the two and Golson is supposed to be the get-on-base and make things happen type of hitter.

In fact, Golson's strikeout ratio is what made his projection as a major leaguer iffy. He struck out 130 times in 426 at bats this past season, right about on his minor league average. Golson's strikeout rates have stayed pretty steady throughout his career even though the Phillies have worked with him to improve his plate discipline and develop an approach that simply allowed him to put the bat on the ball.

Likewise, the Rangers worked with Mayberry to cut down his strikeout numbers and he has shown some mild improvement without hurting his power numbers. Early in his career, Mayberry was striking out once in every 3.7 at bats, but has lowered that to his current 4.1 at bats per strikeout. The result has been a climbing batting average from his early seasons in the minors.

While Golson is a definite prospect, his tools don't exactly fit well with what the Phillies need right now. This is a team that will need a stronger offensive outfielder to step into left field should Pat Burrell exit via free agency. Even if Burrell were to be re-signed, Mayberry would be able to provide a power right-handed bat off the bench, which could come in handy for the Phillies in 2009. Mayberry is simply a better fit for the Phillies right now.

It's also likely that Mayberry is more major league ready than Golson, who has yet to play at the Triple-A level. While Golson was with the Phillies on a late-season audition and stole a base as a pinch-runner, he's still raw enough to need seasoning in the minors. Mayberry may need a little more work at the Triple-A level (he has 437 career at bats at Triple-A) and he doesn't have any major league experience, but his swing and approach is more advanced than is Golson's and he appears to be the better prospect at this time and will possibly be the better overall player when all is said and done.

The move may signal to Burrell that the Phillies are prepared to move on if he's unwilling to sign at a rate the Phillies can live with. Be careful though to not read anything into this trade, since there are no guarantees that Mayberry would be able to step in and put up Burrell-type offensive numbers. This move alone does not mean that Burrell is a goner. After all, Mayberry has played more games in right field than in left during his pro career and could wind up in a platoon with Geoff Jenkins in right with Jayson Werth moving to left.

Defensively, Mayberry doesn't have anywhere near Golson's speed - although he did steal 16 bases in 2007 - but he's quick enough to get to balls hit into the gap or down the line. He has played in both left and right field in the minors and has shown himself to be at least an average, if not slightly above average defensive outfielder. He's also got a solid arm. Mayberry also can play at first base and even though it's not likely the Phillies would need him there very often, he could serve as a backup to Ryan Howard, giving the big guy a day off here and there.

Career stats by minor league level

MAYBERRY HR RBI AVG G AB R H 2B 3B BB KO SB OBP SLG OPS
Rookie 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Low-A 11 26 .253 71 265 51 67 16 0 26 71 7 .341 .448 .779
Class-A 21 77 .268 126 459 77 123 26 4 59 117 9 .358 .479 .837
High-A 16 45 .230 63 244 47 56 15 1 28 64 9 .314 .496 .810
Double-A 18 51 .248 90 327 51 81 18 0 24 83 11 .311 .468 .779
Triple-A 16 58 .263 114 437 49 115 30 7 30 85 6 .316 .474 .790
TOTALS 82 257 .255 464 1732 275 442 105 12 167 420 42 .330 .472 .802
GOLSON HR RBI AVG G AB R H 2B 3B BB KO SB OBP SLG OPS
Rookie 1 22 .295 47 183 34 54 8 5 10 54 12 .332 .410 .742
Low-A 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Class-A 11 58 .241 182 762 107 184 34 12 45 213 48 .290 .361 .651
High-A 18 69 .279 139 577 97 161 38 5 32 177 32 .323 .456 .779
Double-A 16 76 .271 143 579 84 157 23 6 36 179 28 .313 .415 .728
Triple-A 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
TOTALS 46 225 .265 511 2101 322 556 103 28 123 623 120 .309 .406 .715

The bottom line: This is a good trade for the Phillies. They dealt from strength and depth and acquired a guy who fits the bill for the power-hitting outfielder that they need. We don't know how either of these two will ultimately wind up performing, but even if they both play to their highest potential, it will be a good deal for the Phillies, since they have depth in the speed department, but their organization is sorely lacking in power.

This is also a deal which could benefit Texas very well. Golson is a definite prospect with great speed and could develop into an impact player in the Rangers outfield before too long.



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