Shane Victorino’s 2011: Solid

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, December 12, 2011 08:10 AM | Comments: 23
2011 Player Review, Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Victorino's excellent 2011 raises more questions than gives answers. (Photo: AP)

Not one thing stood out about Shane Victorino’s 2011 season and, in many ways, that is a good thing. Victorino has consistently put up very good numbers at a premium position for the Phils for six-full seasons now and is about as complete of a position player that the Phillies currently have on their roster.

Victorino’s exceptional first-half play earned him a trip to Arizona to represent the Phillies in the All-Star Game, but for most casual fans, he went unnoticed. With column after column devoted to debating the worth of the Big Piece, the excitable Flyin’ Hawaiian was in contention for the batting title entering September,   posted a career high slugging percentage 44 points higher than his previous best, and his defense returned to career best levels that helped him win the Gold Glove in 2008.

WAR is a stat that really helps give worth to players like Victorino; players who excel at a little bit of everything at positions where offensive production is at a premium. Victorino’s 5.9 WAR was good enough for 8th in the NL and best in the Phillies line-up. His UZR/150 of 5.7 was nearly as good as his 2008 Gold Glove-earning 6.5 of 2008. Sadly, Victorino’s most memorable defensive play of 2011 may have been his backwards throw in Game 4 of the NLDS.

Victorino improved on an uncharacteristically mediocre 2010 by turning more of his fly balls into hits. His flyballs once again increased in 2011 but his BABIP and K% dropped and his average, on-base percentage, and slugging rose dramatically. He showed an improved eye, walking 9.4%, almost a full percentage point better than his previous career best.

Vic missed some time in 2011 for a sprained thumb, assorted injuries, and his memorable role in the August 5 fracas with the Giants. He unfortunately ended his terrific campaign with a thud, hitting just .186 in September.  2011 was also the first season since 2006 where Victorino stole under 20 bases (25). The decline in steals likely was not injury related and but probably due to either Davey Lopes exist or an evolving skill set as the Flyin’ Hawaiian gets older. His 16 triples did tie Jose Reyes for the Major League lead so I am leaning more so with the former than the latter. Victorino had six hits, including a double, in 19 at-bats for the Phils in their five- game, NLDS loss to the Cards.

Victorino enters 2012 with many non-performance related question marks surrounding him. 2012 is the Flyin’ Hawaiian’s last arbitration eligible year and will be eligible to become a free agent after the season. With this, the Phillies are put in a very precarious position with no clear in-house center field option available and a team looking to get younger forced to make a decision about giving a long-term deal to a player entering the 2013 season at age 33 who is putting up All-Star production in center field.

Grade: 8.5/10 – Victorino looked to be a fringe MVP candidate entering September, combining strong outfield play with speed and power. September slowed him down but his bat was one of few that was alive for the playoffs.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 853 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 5366 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Nice write up, “solid” is a perfect description. I’m surprised the fight in San Francisco was not mentioned, as I believe that was the beginning of the decline you mention in September. Also, looking at his splits, if he never batted leadoff, he may have been in semi-serious contention for MVP. Leadoff OPS of .752 was well below his over .900 in every other batting position in which he had PA’s.

    I like Shane a lot. I think he is one of the keys to our success. On the other hand I also think he should be traded before the deadline. I think we can do better than – - whatever this confounded new CBA gives us for departed FA’s. He’s a guy that could return real value.

    • Posts: 1376 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      Ive often wondered about this. Can you let him go an recoup a draft pick? Or do you trade him at the deadline, get some pieces in return, and put Mayberry in CF (perhaps if Dom Brown is ready by that time?). It would not be an easy trade to make, but he’s going to get a raise next season and the Phillies can’t keep everyone. They’ve got to get younger somewhere, sometime. Plus, Hamels is ready to be paid and is more important, in my opinion.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Mayberry is not a proven commodity yet. Keep Victorino — if at all possible. Let’s see how Mayberry comes around. I am hoping that last year was no fluke, and he continues to shine.

  • Posts: 1097 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    decent write up, and as much as you try one here to show only new stats matter like WAR, which really just an arbitrary number made up by someone, that can not be quantified, because there is no such thing as a consistant replacement player for every position on every team. And the age thing is overrated, Vic did not start playing full time until he was older so has less milage then other 32 year old players which should be taken in consideration when deciding to trade or keep a guy moving into his mid thirties.

    • Posts: 0 George

      I think your idea of “less mileage” has very little merit. There is deterioration of the human body due solely to age. The thirties many times are the years when people begin to grow farsighted, lose a split second off their reflexes, experience changes in metabolism, etc.

      • Posts: 548 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        30′s yeas, but most of those changes come in the late 30′s. His argument has as much merit as saying just because he is over the age of 30 he will lose reflex time and eyesight without looking and realizing he just turned 31 on Nov 30th (he is not 32). If he was 35 or 36 right now, I would completely agree, but that is still anywhere from 3-4 years down the line. Not to mention, with his speed and glove, even if he loses some of it because of age, he would still be on par with many other ML CF’s. Look at Rollins. He has lost well more than a step or 2, and his offense has dropped, but he is still one of the better Defensive SS’s in the league, and he is 33. Looking at other CF’s, my curiousity would be Michael Bourn. He is 2 years younger than Shane, pretty consistent with his AVG hovering between .294 and .302 from 1 July – the end of the season. Also has speed, however may be cheaper than Vic, as Vic is already slated to make $9.5 in 2012 and Bourn is scheduled to make $4.4. Surely Bourn will get a raise. He is slated for Arbitration in 2012, and also a FA in 2013.



      • Posts: 0 George

        If you were a more careful reader, you’d realize that my comment was a rebuttal to the previous comment about Vic having “less mileage.” My point is that age catches up with a person no matter what his earlier baseball activities have been; full time or part time playing has little to do with to do with how someone might age. Nowhere did I say that Victorino would become a lousy player, only that the late start betasigmadeltashag cited would probably make little difference in how he ages.

        Also, you state that “most of those changes come in the late 30′s,” and if Vic were 35 or 36, you’d agree, but then note that Rollins has “lost well more than a step or 2.” Rollins is only 33.

      • Posts: 548 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        I know that the comment was a “rebuttal”. That is why I said ” His argument has as much merit as saying just because he is over the age of 30 he will lose reflex time and eyesight without looking and realizing he just turned 31 on Nov 30th (he is not 32).” Darn dude, that was only the second sentance that I reference the same exact post that you had a rebuttal too. LOL If you were a more careful reader you would realize that I not only responded to your post, but the other post which you were posting about. LOL. I didn’t think it was that difficult to understand. Not to mention, my point about J-Roll was that #1, JRoll started younger so had more “mileage” which is consitent with betasigma. #2, you completely ignored the other part of the JRoll post. LOL. “his offense has dropped, but he is still one of the better Defensive SS’s in the league”. I was also stating “even if he loses some of it” again key word which a careful reader would notice is IF.

        I find it funny that you said I was not a careful reader and you ignorred certain parts of my post. LOL. And yes, I stand by my comment. There is still a significant difference between early 30′s (barely 21 like Vic) and say 39 (Ibanez).

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Shave Victorino. Lots of offensive talent. A triple waiting to happen. That said, for someone so fast, he doesn’t bunt and he flies out too much. He doesn’t walk either. He’s a nice player but since he and Jimmy are so similar (to a detriment) offensively, Shane would be a great guy to trade. He would bring back a lot in return. Move Jr. to center and put a stud in left.

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 548 Brian Sr. of CO

      Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

      Shouldn’t the call for small ball (aka bunt) come from Cholly? I doubt Vic is given the green light without any sort of input from the dugout, as Cholly says Howard has (which I also do not completely agree with).

  • Posts: 548 Brian Sr. of CO

    Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

    Definitely one of the unsung players. I am one of what appears to be the few Flyin Hawaiin fans on here! I think Pat had a good point. Sure I would love to keep Shane, but maybe it would be a better idea to trade him to try to re-coup some prospects or younger players? Chances are slim to be able to keep both Vic and Hamels, and Hamels is more important he is still young, and has more years left in his arm. The other question however is offering arbitration. If he gets a better contract elsewhere then his arbitration offer, we would then get some level of compensation, however only in the form of draft picks correct? I would probably try to get a prospect rather then draft picks.

    I am not so sure I would go as far as to say ” was in contention for the batting title entering September” I think it is a bit of a stretch. He was a decent amount of .300, but I don’t know about in contention. His highest AVG came between Aug 17th – 23rd where he sat at .314, which was still 22 points below Reyes, and 16 points below PED Boy Braun. I am definitely NOT complaing about that AVG. I loved it while he had it, but it was not the entire season. He didn’t hit the .300 mark until his 3 for 5 effort on July 29th, and stayed above .300 until Sep 8th. Definitely a “solid” season, but no in contention for the batting title being more than 10 points behind the #3 on the list.

  • Posts: 1110 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    Before 2011 I wasn’t a big fan of Shane, but last season changed my mind. He’s become a much more balanced, all-around type player. Last year he was spectacular, except for September. As we move forward he’ll become a more valuable piece cause of his versatility (he can bat leadoff, second, fifth, sixth, seventh in the lineup). At this point, he should be getting more at bats and should be either batting leadoff or second right behind Jimmy (if we sign him after all). Polanco should bat sixth or lower unless he proves he’s healthy once again.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Shane is obviously the piece that we have (other than Pence) that is most easily traded and replaced. Hanley Ramirez looks like a good target but I suspect we will have to give more than Victorino – Vanimal too?

  • Posts: 2893 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Ok. So do you trade him at the deadline if the Phillies are in the middle of a pennant race and he’s one of the main reasons why?

    • Posts: 5366 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      It’s a reasonable question. I’d answer that it depends on the return, and also depends on what the Phils needs are at that time. Last year for instance, we lacked a little pop which Pence brought, so trading Shane (who lead the team in SLG at the time) would make no sense. But let’s say for instance, we don’t sign Jimmy. We may lack speed and OBP, since Shane has become less of that type player and more a run producer, then it would make sense. Another team may have a need for him, we don’t know that now.

      I just don’t want to settle for picks (if the new CBA even gets us any for him). We don’t have a lot of tradable pieces, Pence, Chooch and Vic are the ones that bring the most return. I also echo Pat’s sentiment that we must make sure we can sign Hamels, and if this is how to do that, I’m sure you would agree. I’m Shane’s biggest fan, but the team as a whole is most important to me

  • Posts: 2002 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Why even consider trading one of the most productive players on the Phils who consistently seems to be improving as the seasons pass. Keeping Shane should be a priority for this bunch. It would be a mistake to trade him.

    Brian is right, the fact that Shane is not running more often really needs to be addressed by his managers

  • Posts: 0 mic

    Trading Vic makes no sense–this team has a 2-3 year window and Vic is at his prime–plus he brings clubhouse intangibles

    • Posts: 550 Bruce

      Avatar of Bruce

      Brooks and mic, I agree with both of you. I was astounded that some here would like the idea of trading Victorino. However, I realized one should not take the comments regarding that audacious suggestion of trading Victorino so seriously. MLB ‘Hot Stove” chats are very popular on this site as several here awaits anxiously for every little rumor that pops up elsewhere no matter how farfetched it may be. You will have some here playing baseball fantasy as GM wanna bes’ making their own proposed deals and contract offers (chuckles). That’s all right..it’s all in good fun.

      • Posts: 5366 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        I am delighted that I could provide some chuckles for you Bruce. After all it’s my job to entertain you right? May I make a suggestion?

        If you are going to disparage comments you don’t happen to agree with, Don’t read them! And further, if you don’t understand- if you are “astounded”- that it is best to get something back for a player that you may lose to FA before you lose them, then it is you who are providing the chuckles. The suggestion is not audacious, it could well prove to be the most sensible move to make. I love Shane Victorino, I’m his biggest fan. That said, the prudent move is to consider trading him before we lose him to FA. We can’t afford everyone, just can’t. Have you heard of luxury tax? Do you know what a salary cap is?

        From here on out -Please stop read my comments please. And the next time you make a snarky comment like this about anyone that comments here, I will flag you and report you to Brian.

  • Posts: 550 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    Whoa! Lefty, what makes you think I’m singling you out for any of your comments?? My goodness! Either you are your overly sensitive or worst being paranoid toward me. If you took the time to read EVERY word in my comment, no names were mentioned and it was only a mild and gentle response to posters IN GENERAL. I certainly never would use abusive and foul language in any of my comments. Again, take another look at my comment and see if there were any PERSONAL attack on any one individual. Get a hold of yourself and take a deep breath. Remember we are ALL entitled to our opinion. OK? By the way, I would appreciate a apology from you.

    • Posts: 5366 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      “However, I realized one should not take the comments regarding that audacious suggestion of trading Victorino so seriously. ?

      “MLB ‘Hot Stove” chats are very popular on this site as several here awaits anxiously for every little rumor that pops up elsewhere no matter how farfetched it may be. ”

      “You will have some here playing baseball fantasy as GM wanna bes’ making their own
      proposed deals and contract offers (chuckles)”

      I had no problem with either of the two opinions you referenced above yours, they stated their thoughts and are definitely entitled to do so. But neither one of them included 3 digs at other commenters did they? Sometimes I honestly wonder if you can even see the difference.

      Overly sensitive? Paranoid? I don’t think so. You do this frequently, we’ve had this discussion before, so now I’m calling you out on it. No apology forthcoming sir.

      • Posts: 550 Bruce

        Avatar of Bruce

        I remember a quote..”the self-righteous never apologize.” When reading your response, one gets the impression that you are judgmental and censorious of other people’s thoughts and criticisms you find so disagreeable. I’m tolerant and hope my impression of you is incorrect. In my original comment, I merely expressed in my rather feeble attempt at humor to take lightly of those who suggested trading an all-star, gold glove player whose value goes beyond the statistics of past season. As I see it and to quote a concluding sentence in my original comment..”It’s all in good fun” in regards to those who enjoy the idea of proposing trades, contracts, etc. That is why I see it as a fan of our beloved team, we (well, most) don’t take it to heart when we find something disagreeable on this site because in the real world we have no say in what the Phillies’ front office ultimately decides.

        I am puzzled by your latest comment that I do this “frequently”. Frequently as in expressing an opinion? Certainly not in any personal attack or rant toward some poster on this site as some others (not often thankfully) choose to do. I am still waiting for that apology (smile).

  • Posts: 0 joey

    Next year michael bourn is a FA along with Vic. I would love to bring michael back home and have a true leadoff hitter that would allow Jimmy to be dropped in the batting order. Only problem is Cole needs to be signed first and we need a 3rd baseman plus his agent is Boras.

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