Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Who Is Shane Victorino? 

A bench player? Pat Burrell’s defensive replacement? Bobby Abreu’s replacement?

Ever since the Phillies acquired Victorino back in 2004, I’ve been trying to evaluate him and figure out where he fits into the Phillies plans. I don’t think the Phils know themselves. On a team where Pat Burrell, Bobby Abreu and Aaron Rowand are firmly entrenched as the Phillies three outfielders, Victorino seems to be the odd man out. Will he continue as a bench player? I doubt it. I suspect that next year Victorino will be in the Phillies outfield in one way or another, and he might find himself starting even sooner than that …

Thus far this season Victorino has done the following at the plate:

OBP: .331
SLG: .419
ISO: .148
GPA: .254

Confused about what I’m talking about? Here are the stats I refer to defined:
Gross Productive Average (GPA): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA. Invented by The Hardball Times Aaron Gleeman, GPA measures a players production by weighing his ability to get on base and hit with power. This is my preferred all-around stat.
Isolated Power (ISO): .SLG - .BA = .ISO. Measures a player’s raw power by subtracting singles from their slugging percentage.
On-Base Percentage (OBP): How often a player gets on base. (H + BB + HBP) / (Plate Appearances)
Slugging Percentage (SLG): Total Bases / At-Bats = Slugging Percentage. Power at the plate.

A passable performance on his part. Chiefly, Victorino has been used in the roles of defensive substitute (more on that later) and pinch hitter. Unlike David Dellucci, he really has not excelled at that role at all:

As PH:
At-Bats: 30
OBP: .237
SLG: .200

Like many of the Phillies, Victorino has had a lousy season hitting with runners in scoring position (RISP):

OBP: .227
SLG: .262

I’d have to say that there is nothing remarkable about Victorino’s performance at the plate this season. He’s hit the ball with a little power, done a good job getting on base, struggles with runners in scoring position, etc. If this is indicative of his future performance with the Phillies, I’d not impressed. His 159 At-Bats this season is more than his MLB total coming into this season: 90 (17 with the Phillies in 2005 and 73 with the Pads in 2003).

Let’s get to Victorino’s defensive metrics. Victorino had logged 297 innings of work as an outfielder in 2006, making no errors and having five assists. He seems to be doing a fine job, but that is difficult to judge. Victorino has entered several games as Pat Burrell’s defensive substitute, which suggests to me that the team has some confidence in his fielding abilities. We have no data on Victorino coming into this season: he played just 16 innings for the Phils in 2005 and didn’t have an opportunity to record an out.

It seems to me likely that Shane Victorino will be playing in the Phillies outfield sometime soon. If the Phillies deal Pat Burrell to the Tigers, a definite possibility, I suspect that Victorino will take over as the Phillies starting left-fielder. I can’t see Shane as much of an upgrade from a player who I think is a dangerous bat, but he would have the benefit of being cheaper.

This morning the Phillies are sliding back further, now six and a half games out of the wildcard. The Phils need to be careful: fifth place is a possible finishing point for this team.

I would hope they would start Dellucci over Victorino.
If the Phillies move any of their outfielders, I'd be fully supportive of playing guys like Victorino, Roberson, etc more. Let the AA and AAA guys show what they can do because the Phillies will have holes to fill next year.

Look at the Marlins, who everyone called a AAA team at the beginning of the year. They've let their guys play and they are going to be better off for it. And besides, look at the standings...$90 million doesn't buy what it used to.
Victorino's numbers were much more impressive while he was filling in for Rowand and playing every day. As soon as Aaron came back, Victy dropped off the face of the Earth. Most Phillies' lineup decisions are made by salary, and this was no exception. Even as Rowand's numbers have continued to deteriorate, Victorino can't crack the lineup unless somebody's hurt.

John Salmon
Victorino must be judged as a fulltime player based on his performance when Rowand was out. He is clearly not at his best coming off the bench or getting the occasional start. Few players are, but especially young ones.

Rowand's fall from grace is the most rapid in memory. I wouldn't hesitate to move him, either. His shallow centerfield has never impressed me.
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