Phillies: What happened to outfielder John Mayberry Jr.?
The young outfielder had ample chances to be a starter for the Phillies
Former Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. is one of a handful second-generation MLB players. His father, John Sr., played for the Royals, Yankees, Astros and Blue Jays over a 15-year career, but Jr. struggled to get his career as a full-time player off the ground.
Mayberry Jr. was drafted in the first round twice, first with the 28th overall pick by the Mariners in 2002 out of high school and later with the 19th pick in 2005 for the Rangers out of Stanford University.
Over four years playing in the Rangers minor league system Mayberry Jr. had a ton of power, hitting 82 home runs, but he had only one season where he hit better than .270.
After hitting 16 home runs in Triple-A Oklahoma, Mayberry Jr. was traded to the Phillies a month after they won the ’08 World Series. Texas received Greg Golson, the Phillies first round pick in 2004 who played only six games for the big league team going 0-6 with four strikeouts.
Mayberry Jr. spent his first two years in the Phillies organization down in Triple-A Lehigh Valley where it was much of the same, averaging 14 home runs and a .261 batting average.
He did get some playing time with the major league team in those first two years, playing 50 games (22 starts) with six home runs and a .232 batting average.
After the 2010 season Jayson Werth left the Phillies for Washington and there was a job to take in right field. Veteran Ben Francisco beat out Mayberry Jr. and top prospect Domonic Brown for the opening day right field job and Mayberry Jr. started the year on the bench.
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That decision would pay off for the Phillies when Mayberry Jr. hit a walk-off single over the head of Michael Bourn on opening day off Brandon Lyon to score Francisco.
Mayberry Jr. would actually play the least amount of games in right field among those the group that competed for the job and would split time between each outfield spot and first base. The lack of production in right field forced the contending Phillies to acquire Hunter Pence at the trade deadline to boost the offense.
Mayberry Jr. would have the best season of his career hitting 15 home runs with a .273 average and 49 RBI.
When Raul Ibanez left after the ’11 season Mayberry Jr. was named the opening day left fielder and played a career-high 149 games. He hit 14 home runs but his batting average dipped almost 30 points.
The following year he was the opening day right fielder and played 134 games but hit just .227 with 11 home runs for a team that won just 73 games under Charlie Manuel and Ryne Sandberg.
He did hit the first walk-off grand slam in Citizens Bank Park history in 2013 in the 11th inning against the Marlins.
Mayberry was moved back to the bench in 2014 and was traded on August 31 to the Blue Jays for minor league infielder Gustavo Pierre.
After the trade Mayberry jumped between the Mets, White Sox, and Tigers organizations, but played his last big league game for the Mets in 2015 at the age of 31. He played just 13 games for the White Sox’s Triple-A team hitting .162 and hasn’t played a professional regular season game since.
According to his Instagram in 2019 Mayberry married and appears to be enjoying life outside of baseball by traveling, golfing, and enjoying his dogs.
He did return to Philadelphia for the 2009 National League pennant team reunion and shared that experience on his Instagram as well.
Ultimately JMJ was a quality fourth outfielder for the Phillies in their rebuild and he brought a lot of raw talent to the team that never materialized into a full-time gig. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t latch on with another team because he had all the tools, but unfortunately, he was never able to get it all together in the big leagues.
Hopefully he is enjoying that life after baseball and can find what keeps him happy and healthy.