Name: John Mayberry, Jr.
DOB: December 21, 1983
John Mayberry, Jr., the son of former All Star outfielder John Mayberry, is beginning to make a name for himself in professional baseball.
But being a high-profile prospect is nothing new for the 6-foot-6 outfielder. Taken by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 2002 MLB Draft, Mayberry elected to attend college at Stanford University instead. While Mayberry hit .312 with 28 home runs in three years with the Cardinal, he struggled to find his power stroke for the majority of his junior season, causing his draft stock to fall.
The Rangers were able to snatch up the outfielder, who played first base in college, with the 19th overall selection in the 2005 draft. Knowing he would be a bit of a project because of his long swing and switch to the outfield, the Rangers immediately went to work on the Kansas City native.
Mayberry struggled to make consistent contact in his professional debut with Short-Season Spokane, but he showed glimpses of his promising power. Though the outfielder struck out 71 times in 265 at bats, he swatted 16 doubles and 11 home runs.
Playing with Single-A Clinton in 2006, it wasn't until midway through the season that Mayberry became a consistent producer with the bat. After Mayberry hit just .221 with five extra base hits in June, the light clicked on. The outfielder mashed his way to a .312 average with 11 doubles, four triples, and 10 home runs over the season's final two months.
The 23-year-old carried his hot streak over to Hawaii, where Mayberry participated in the return of Hawaii Winter Baseball. The Stanford product posted an OPS of .933, as he hit .318 with nine doubles, three home runs, and 23 RBI in 88 at bats.
Batting and Power: "The ball just sounds different off his bat." It seems to have become sort of a cliché that scouts and avid fans use with regard to big-time power hitters. However, that cliché just happens to ring true for Mayberry. The outfielder has loads of power potential. While he already posts solid power numbers, they should continue to increase – along with his batting average – as he continues to work on shortening his swing.
Base Running and Speed: The athletic Mayberry has good speed, but he shouldn't be expected to steal many bases. He was able to leg out four triples while swiping nine bags in 12 attempts with Single-A Clinton in 2006.
Defense: A first baseman in college, Mayberry has only been playing in the outfield since the Rangers drafted him in June 2005. However, the Stanford product has been impressive so far, flashing above-average range and a very strong arm. He could play either corner outfield position, but Mayberry's arm may best be suited for right field.
Projection: Mayberry's ceiling appears to be similar to that of White Sox outfielder and 2005 World Series MVP Jermaine Dye. Mayberry should become a tall, athletic outfielder with a strong arm and plus power at the plate. The only question will be whether or not Mayberry will be able to become more of a contact hitter. If Mayberry is able to do so, he should have little problem realizing his potential.
2007 Outlook: Mayberry will begin the 2007 season with High-A Bakersfield of the California League. Historically a hitter's haven, Mayberry should improve on his 2006 numbers with Clinton. Because of his age, the Rangers may not be shy to promote the outfielder to Double-A Frisco in mid-season.