Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mayberry Jr, Happ Impressive

John Mayberry Jr. is impressing everyone during camp, and it appears that amidst the team's search for a right handed bat off the bench, they had the perfect candidate right under their noses. Mayberry have shown tremendous improvement since working with Charlie Manuel and Milt Thompson, and has now shown the ability to put the ball in play and hit consistently, given its only been eight exhibition games. Mayberry has shown a nice power stroke, which could pay large dividends for the Phils if he develops into a consistent power bat off the bench. Mayberry is having the spring Greg Dobbs had a few years ago, and hopefully Mayberry proves it to be no fluke just as Dobbs has done.

Mayberry should make the team, plain and simple. If they employ a five man bench, Eric Bruntlett and Ronnie Paulino/Chris Coste will occupy two spots as right handed hitters. Dobbs and Geoff Jenkins will supply two left handed bats, which leaves Mayberry and Matt Stairs among a few other contenders. Stairs came up huge against the Dodgers in Game Four of the NLCS, but he is not going to consistently put the ball in play or impact many games. Mayberry has an immediate edge just being a right handed bat, which the Phils need, but he has more potential and talent. Stairs should be thanked for his contributions, receive his ring, and let go.

The fifth starter job should belong to J.A Happ. He excelled when in the starting rotation last season, Kyle Kendrick is struggling and showing no poise with his immature actions on the field, Chan Ho Park is better suited for the bullpen and Carlos Carrasco will open the season in Triple-A. Happ struck out seven Tigers yesterday in just three innings of work, and has been impressive during camp and his time in the big leagues. He is a nice compliment to the other pitchers in the staff, and would certainly fit in nicely as a fifth starter.

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