Phillies Player Review: Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, October 14, 2012 01:52 PM | Comments: 14
2012 Player Reviews, Analysis, Opinion, Posts

The outfield situation was messy in 2012. (AP)

The two outfielders spent the first half of the season with the Phillies, then both were sent packing to the west coast in separate pre-deadline deals. For that, we put Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence together as they were key cogs in an underachieving first half; not only personally, but for the entire team.

After a solid 2011 season, Victorino seemed primed for a big contract following the 2012 season as he hit free agency. The issue was that he let the contract talk follow him wherever he went. Victorino, as we’ve come to learn, moves and talks a mile a minute. There’s a lot going on in his head already, and the thoughts of millions of dollars were too much to overcome – he said so himself.

As for Pence, no one really knows what’s happening there. So much kinetic energy was not always a good thing with Pence. When he came here from Houston, it was his all-out hustle that was so endearing to the fans. That quickly got old as the dude struggled big time with runners in scoring position during the first half of the year and couldn’t slow himself down at the plate no matter the circumstance.

Victorino was dealt to the Dodgers on July 31 for reliever Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher Ethan Martin. The 31-year-old finished his tenure with the Phillies hitting .261 with nine homers, 40 RBI, 24 steals, and a .724 OPS, which is the lowest mark of his career. He was just not the same guy as in previous seasons.

Pence was awesome in 2011, there’s no way around that. It was the complete opposite in 2012. Before being dealt to San Francisco, Pence posted a .271 average, 17 homers, 59 RBI line with a .784 OPS. That OPS number was considerably lower than the .954 OPS he put up in the second half of last season. The power numbers look nice, but digging deeper, Pence was just plain bad when it mattered most. He hit just .238 with runners in scoring position and for a while was well under .200. In a small sample size, Pence had 16 at-bats with runners at second and third, but came up with just two hits. The Phillies paid a hefty price in young talent to acquire Pence and got an amazing second half of 2011 and a below-average first half of 2012.

In the end, Ruben Amaro made the wise moves to trade both and get as much in return as possible. With Victorino bound to hit free agency, the Phillies were proactive in attempting to get some bullpen help in Lindblom. It didn’t work well, but Martin showed flashes of brilliance in the minors. Victorino struggled in LA, putting up an ugly .667 OPS in 53 games.

The Phillies acquired Tommy Joseph, a highly-rated catcher, minor league pitcher Seth Rosin, and outfielder Nate Scheirholtz. He, too, found it even harder on out west, as Pence’s OPS was a dismal .671 OPS. Somehow, Pence finished with 104 RBI on the season, by far a career high, but overall, probably not the season he, or the Phillies, were hoping for.

For both Victorino and Pence, it was a disappointing half-season with the Phillies.


-Victorino: C-

-Pence: C-

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1714 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    I just hope we use the saved contract money on these two players wisely. Pence will do well for the Giants. Victorino, in my opinion, is on a downward trend and may do well in Tampa Bay as a free agent signing.

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Victorino had his best season ever last year. Being on the wrong side of 30, he will probably never duplicate that again. At the same time, it’s not clear why this year was as bad as it was. Did he press because of his upcoming free agency? Did his wrist bother him so much? I think he can rebound to 2008-2010 levels, which is pretty darn good.

      As for Pence, it’s similar. He also will likely never have a year as good as last year, but there’s also no reason to expect that he will continue his miserable performance after the trade to the Giants.

  • Posts: 0 George

    Hunter Pence, who couldn’t hit with men on and cost the team with his fielding, gets a “C-.” Ryan Howard, still only at maybe 80% and with no spring training, did hit with runners on, but gets a “D.”

    Maybe the same person should write all the reviews, or it should be a committee of reviewers doing each player.

    • Posts: 5434 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I agree about the inconsistencies, but it’s like this every year. Good idea on the committee on each player, but that might tax too much of these guys time. Maybe we could help in some way. A grade poll for each player here, or here and facebook?

      One person could write them all, but they only post once or twice a week. It could be S.T. before they’re done!

      I really like Eric Seidman’s approach the best.
      He said,
      “Context is key in any evaluation or analysis.”

      Maybe if everyone based their evaluations that way it would work better.

    • Posts: 0 Kyle

      Dude do you not see how much Howard strikes out. Cant just go around looking to hit HRs

  • Posts: 1376 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    It’s arbitrary grades and we all think differently. Not really something to get up in arms about.

    • Posts: 0 George

      I’m sorry if I gave the impression of being “up in arms.” I’m not. My aim was only to point out some of the arbitrariness and to make a suggestion about a possible way to improve the consistency. Without consistency, the process gets a little silly sometimes.

      Personally, I read these ratings mostly for amusement. It’s rather funny sometimes to visualize the pulsing blood vessels and red faces of commenters whose favorites have been dissed.

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL


  • Posts: 556 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    I did noticed that Pence finished with a career high 104 RBIs (also 24 HRs) and is still playing for HIS TEAM in the playoffs. No doubt The Giants are most grateful to have him in their line-up and obviously a factor in their drive in winning the division. Plus he is a good teammate and did not hesitate to take the role of motivating the players to hustle (he is a role model for that ) and play hard.

    The Giants management would give Pence a grade of A (smile)

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      And they would have given Howard an A+ ;-)

      Pence in SF: .219/.287/.384 (.671 OPS), RBI per 5.5 PAs
      Howard: .219/.295/.423 (.718 OPS), RBI per 5.2 PAs

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Well, I think they’ll turn that smile upside down when they realize how much money they’re going to have to pay him next year for that kind of production.

  • Posts: 556 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    One other comment to make here. Regardless of what some “fans” here may think of Victorino, I would not rule out the possibility that GM Amaro will give Victorino a ‘calling card” prior to the free agency period to contact him if he is not satisfied with offers from other clubs.

    Victorino wants to continue to be a everyday player and his best shot most likely would be with the Phillies and would love to rejoin the team. Certainly, he would be more productive offensively and defensively in CF than Mayberry Jr. So keep an eye on what happens with Victorino in the offseason.

  • Posts: 271 Jeff of Nova

    Avatar of Jeff of Nova

    I think there is a very good chance that Vic ends up in Philly again at a discounted price. That would be a great signing. He still is a great fielder. Have Dominic and Ruf at the corners with Mayberry platooning in.

    Then go after a bat maybe a trade not sure but something that will make this lineup go

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Pence had a down year but we all should have down years with 100+RBI. We need a Pence a lot more than a Victorino and certainly more than Amaro’s favorite – Bourn. Bourn is on the downslide and while still an attractive player does not provide the RH power bat that we have sought since Werth left. I am concerned that trading Pence was the wrong move. We need him or someone like him.

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