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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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Shane Victorino: What to Expect in '07 

Yesterday I talked a little about Shane Victorino’s path to the majors, which included leaving beautiful Maui for the life of a minor-leaguer in rural small towns in America, being subject to a pair of Rule 5 drafts, before finally joining the Phillies and moving in to become the team’s right fielder. Today we are going to talk a little about what to expect from Victorino in 2007. While Victorino has played a little in the majors before – a few games in 2003 as a Padre and a handful as a Phillie in ’05 before basically becoming the team’s right fielder in ’06 – this will be the first time that Victorino starts a season as the team’s starting outfielder and it will be interesting to see how he does as a full-time starter.

What did Victorino do in 2006: he hit .287 with a .346 OBP and a .414 Slugging Percentage. His OPS+ was 92, meaning that he was somewhat below average for an N.L. hitter (100 is average). He hit six home runs, eight triples and 19 doubles. There are thing I like about Victorino that might be of interest to fans and fantasy players: hitting eight triples is a mark of a player with a lot of speed. The Phillies didn’t have Victorino run much in ’06 (seven attempted steals, of which four were successful), but with new First Base coach Davey Lopes on the team, expect the Phillies to send Victorino to second base more often.

What is interesting to me about Victorino’s ’06 campaign was how often he put the ball into play. Of Victorino’s 462 plate appearances in 2006, just 12% ended in strikeouts, well under the major league average of 17%, and better than such Phillies as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, etc. Victorino doesn’t draw enough walks for my liking – 24 in 2006 – but he’s a good contact hitter.

I looked at Victorino’s minor league stats and the story is confirmed there:

K / PA
1999 (Rookie): 12%
2000 (Single-A): 16%
2001 (Single-A+): 12%
2002 (Double-A): 9%
2003 (Double-A): 14%

With the Scranton Red Barons Victorino struck-out just 13% of the time. The high percentage of balls put into play meant that Victorino got a lot of hits when they fell. Victorino rode a nice batting average with balls put into play (BABIP) to success in the minors. In Scranton, for example, Victorino’s BABIP was .336, pretty nice. As a result Victorino had 98 Runs Created, or 7.29 per 27 Outs. If he can duplicate that in the majors, he’ll be doing very, very well.

Any predictions about Victorino’s season-line? First, I’d note that The 2007 Bill James Handbook rates Victorino as a “low” risk for sustaining an injury. The Handbook goes on to project Victorino playing in 147 games, hitting .266 with a .319 OBP and a .401 Slugging Percentage. Victorino will steal 11 bases in 17 attempts and hit 12 home runs and eight triples. Interestingly, The Handbook states that Victorino will strikeout just 75 times in 538 At-Bats, which is a pretty nice percentage. I think some of those numbers are going to be low: I think Victorino will hit ten or more triples, and he’ll steal 20-25 bases. I also think he’ll increase his on-base percentage somewhat.

Defensively Victorino is a superstar, something that I don’t think many people have considered or thought about. He had 11 assists playing in the Phillies outfield and his Range Factor numbers were far superior to his teammates and to the league averages for the position. If your league utilizes individual defensive stats (and I don’t know of one that does), Victorino is a keeper.

In the final analysis, Shane Victorino is a player that I am cautiously optimistic about for 2007. Fantasy leaguers, he might make a nice late-round sleeper pick for your team. I expect some good things from him in 2007.

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Shane Victorino is the man! He's well over his projected steals already and is going to keep on running.

Can't wait to get my Victorino Hula doll this weekend!
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