John Mayberry and pinch hitting
Trying to figure out John Mayberry Jr. is somewhat frustrating, especially when one is trying to see him in a glass half full type light. His numbers are sort of all over the place across his career: .854 OPS in ’11, .695 OPS in ’12, .677 OPS last year and .924 OPS so far this year. His 6.1 RC/G in 2011 would lead most managers to want to use this guy more often. But this where his numbers really start to separate. When John Mayberry is used as a position player, especially as an outfielder, his productivity dips: .734 OPS when in the outfield. He’s better as a first baseman but it seems his real value surfaces when he’s used exclusively as a pinch hitter. His OPS jumps to .869 when coming off the bench. It’s true that he still strikes out almost a quarter of the time as a pinch hitter in his career but it seems it is in this role he is most effective. Fitting him in when a position player needs a break or is hurt is a temporary fix but it’s from this vantage point that we as fans expect too much from him sometimes.