Three of the biggest names in the Phillies organization could converge in the Lehigh Valley outfield in 2010. And by biggest, we don't just mean guys who are among the top prospects, but guys who are big. John Mayberry Jr. (6' 6", 230), Domonic Brown (6' 5", 204) and Michael Taylor (6' 6", 250) could all headline the roster of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs next season. Those three players combined to hit 47 home runs and drive in 191 runs in the minors this past season and hit a combined .291 on the season.
Mayberry spent part of the season with the Phillies and has rejoined the club for the last month of the regular season. It's also possible - although a bit of a long-shot - that he could be on the postseason roster for the club. Taylor played at both Reading and Lehigh Valley and picked up honors as the Eastern League Rookie of the Year for his time at Reading when he hit 15-65-.333-.408 for the R-Phils. After seeing the last two weeks of his season with Lehigh Valley wiped out by a strained oblique, Taylor was sent to Reading to help with their postseason drive. And then, there's Brown, whose big claim to fame this season was a monster home run hit at Reading's FirstEnergy Stadium that literally left the park, landing in the middle of Route 61 well beyond the left field fence and estimated at 462 feet. The trio also combined to make just 12 errors in 338 combined games this season and combined for 25 assists from the outfield.
|Domonic Brown split his season between Clearwater and Reading, putting up impressive numbers at both stops. Could he start 2010 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley?|
Mayberry and Taylor have already played together at both Lehigh Valley and during their college days at Stanford. Taylor and Brown are currently matched up together for the first time at Reading.
"I think that's a pretty big, fast trio," said Taylor of the chance to play with Mayberry and Brown in the same outfield. "If that ends up happening, I think we could definitely cut down the running game with our arms. And at the plate, I think there's the potential for three guys with 15-plus home runs and a ton of RBI potential in the middle of the order."
While Mayberry has logged some time in the majors, none of the three outfielders have an easy road to a job with the big league club, especially as an everyday outfielder. The Phillies have a pretty well set trio of outfielders at the major league level, who are all pretty secure in Philadelphia. Raul Ibanez is signed through 2011, Shane Victorino is under team control through 2011 and Werth has one more year remaining on his major league deal. Mayberry and Taylor, who are both right-handed hitters, might be able to crack through with a job getting some at-bats at the expense of Ibanez, who turned 37 this past June. Having spent time with the big league club, Mayberry would have the best shot at that job, which would give Taylor the chance to continue playing everyday at Lehigh Valley. Brown likely needs at least a full season at Triple-A and wouldn't be ready for a major league job until 2011, making him a potential replacement for Werth in right field if the Phillies allow Werth to get away through free agency.
Of the three, Brown is the only one who has logged legitimate time in center field, but was playing in right field at Reading because of the presence of center fielder Quintin Berry. Berry could provide an obstacle to the Triple Towers debut in Lehigh Valley next season, as he has more minor league seasoning than Brown and the Phillies may elect to move him to Triple-A and leave Brown at Double-A for a short time next season. Of course, a potential promotion to the Phillies as a utility outfielder for Mayberry could also thwart the Triple Towers scenario.
While he hopes to be in the majors full-time, Mayberry also likes the idea of playing with both Taylor and Brown.
"That would be awesome," said Mayberry. "I've played with Taylor in college and then again here [Lehigh Valley] and I've actually learned from him and the success that he's had transitioning from the college game to the pro game."