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AS Break Grades – The Outfield

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, July 13, 2012 01:28 PM | Comments: 10
Analysis, Posts

A few years ago, the Phils outfield looked like it would be some combination of Michael Taylor, Shane Victorino, and Dom Brown for 2012. Now, Victorino may be traded before July 31, Brown is struggling with injuries, and Taylor, as we found out from my colleague Jay Floyd yesterday, continues to stroke Triple-A pitching but has struggled in his brief tastes of the Bigs. The 2012 Phillies’ outfield has, of course, looked and felt much different than that trio.

Juan Pierre

Juan Pierre has been a pleasant surpirse

Surprising Off Season Pick-Ups

Juan Pierre – Pierre does not have enough PA to qualify for the batting title but his .307 BA in 262 PA is good enough for second in the team. Pierre is 20 for 23 (87%) in stolen base attempts, which at age 34 bests his 75% career success rate, and has been worth 0.8 WAR for the Phillies. Pierre also predictably is tough to strike out (5.0% this year v. career average of 5.6%). Pierre’s .378 SLG% is a product of his high batting average but immediately identifies a problem within the Phils line-up: the light-hitting Pierre’s SLG % is higher than regulars Victorino, Mayberry, and Polanco. Yet, the struggles of others aren’t the result of Pierre’s successes and shouldn’t be penalized. Pierre is having perhaps the “Best Case Scenario” season you could have envisioned for a former speedster who looked to be all but done last year with the White Sox and deserves a high mark. Grade: B+

Laynce Nix – In 51 PA, Nix was hitting .326/.392/.587, playing primarily against righties and allowing Ty Wigginton to play primarily against lefties at first but also fill in in left field. Nix is battling a serious Grade 2 left calf strain and began a rehab assignment yesterday. Once Nix returns, he should be a valuable bench member. Grade: Incomplete leaning toward B+.

The outfield situation has been messy in 2012

Turning Up the Heat with the Bat, Possibly Melted His Glove and/or Defensive Ability

Hunter Pence – Arbitrary stats defined by arbitrary timeline time: Pence has hit .314/.390/.500 since May 14 with 9 2B and 9 HR. Pence has kept the Phillies in games with his bat but has taken them right back out with bad decisions in the field. On July 7 against the Braves, a Pence error cost the Phils the game despite him going 2-3. His current triple-slash (.285/.352/.482) lines up almost perfectly with his career triple-slash (.292/.344/.485) but his defense does not and has cost the Phillies an estimated 7.1 runs versus what an average fielder would have provided via FanGraphs. Grade: B-

Center Field, Center of Trade Rumors

Shane Victorino – Don’t let the low average fool you – Victorino has been a valuable player for the Phillies who is performing near his career norms in BB%, K%, HR, and is even having a bounce back year in steals. He hasn’t been able to bounce back, though, with BABIP; the Flyin’ Hawaiian is BABIP is .258 against a career .295 mark, showing that the speedster has been a little less lucky than he usually is. His line drives are down by about 3% and his ground balls up by about 3%. This may have more to do with his splits than anything – Victorino is hitting .316/.391/.592 against lefties as a righty in 87 PA v. just .223/.288/.304 in 274 PA as a lefty versus a righty. Is it time for Victorino to hit only from the right side against righty pitchers? Still, a disappointing year for Shane, particularly including what happened on July 8. Grade: C-

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 867 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: 1110 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    It’s way past time for Shane to hit only from the right side. The numbers don’t lie.

     
    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      I honestly think that he hand injury he was talking about earlier this season has really hampered his production this season. Which could be good, in that you might be able to re-sign him at a lower cost than you could have before this season and when that injury heals get the old Shane’s production.

      Sort of how like last year his arm turned into something resembling Johnny Damon’s “arm” last season as he was playing through injury, and he’s returned to form this season. Buy low, sell high, you know?

       
    • Posts: 0 George

      I’m not so sure about that, Manny. His numbers vs. righties are bad for sure, but it’s also possible he wouldn’t hit righties any better batting right-handed against them. There’s probably a reason he became a switch-hitter in the first place.

       
      • Posts: 1110 Manny

        Avatar of Manny

        He has made the switch to face knuckleballers and didn’t get bad results. He should try with other pitchers as well.. the split gap is too big to not give it a shot.

         
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Decent analysis. I think the Phils should work hard to trade Victorino while they may be able to get something. He has become unhappy and a distraction. Moreover, you cannot blame Pence for trying. His fielding is down this year but the dude is really trying to lead this offense. In my mind, he is a keeper, at least for now. Unless, of course, someone makes an eye-popping offer for a solid offensive threat.

     
    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      You most certainly can blame Pence for his awful, awful fielding. Every run he gives up on defense is one which negates from the production on offense. It’s a hugely underrated portion of the game and ignoring it is a mistake. This Phillies team was built on pitching and sound defense; when you take away the sound defense you’re going to pick up losses where you otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s just that simple. I honestly think B- is even a little generous, considering what he cost this organization in terms of both salary and the talent required to acquire him.

      It’s funny how he gets a pass for fielding like his glove is made of concrete and taking routes to balls that a blind man would find silly, yet Domonic Brown was excoriated for the same. With Pence he’s just trying to hard, whereas with Brown it was that he had a poor attitude and was “uncoachable.”

      I wonder what the difference is.

       
      • Posts: 0 George

        I concur.

        Also, Pence may be okay hitting, but he can’t even seem to do that with runners in scoring position.

        Brown may not have been great defensively in his short time in the bigs, but he also has youth on his side and can learn. I doubt if Pence ever will since he’s been botching things a lot longer. Maybe Pence is the one who’s uncoachable.

         
      • Posts: 0 c schreiber

        Hmmm, it couldn’t have anything to do with skin color, could it??

         
  • Posts: 0 Care McPherson

    I think most of the Phillie players nee their eyues examined. After all they are at the bifocal age

     
  • Posts: 0 teejvee

    You don’t get ti last place with b’s and c’s.
    Pence c-
    Victorino d-

     
 
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