2012 Phillies Player Preview: Shane Victorino

Player pages: Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, SB Nation

Shane Victorino: MVP candidate. Strange as it might have sounded last spring, and even now, those words were on more than few lips by the time late summer rolled around in 2011.

Two things derailed Victorino's longshot candidacy: First, a truly brutal September that saw the centerfielder post a .186/.258/.319 line. Second, his two stints on the disabled list, one in May for a hamstring strain, and one in July for a thumb sprain, that limited him to 132 games, suppressed his counting stats and, in the latter case, may have affected his performance for the rest of the season.

At any rate, Victorino had by far the best season of his big league career, with a .279/.355/.491 line, with 5.1 rWAR and 5.9 fWAR, both best among Phillies position players. Prior to last season, I wrote the following about Victorino in the Maple Street Press 2011 Phillies Annual:

The switch-hitting Victorino slammed left-handed pitching [in 2010] to a .321/.381/.539 line, but only managed .235/.306/.386 versus righties. But taking into account his abnormally high BAbip against lefties (.341), and unsustainably low BAbip facing righties (.247), and his relatively even 2009 numbers versus lefties and righties, it's reasonable to expect some movement toward the middle on both fronts.

Fortunately, I was only half right. Victorino improved his numbers batting left-handed to a solid .270/.333/.455, but absolutely thrashed lefty pitching, batting .308/.424/.608 right-handed. His .441 wOBA against lefty pitching was third best in the National League, trailing only MVP runner-up Matt Kemp and MVP winner Ryan Braun. All this despite somewhat low BAbip numbers from both sides of the plate: .292 BAbip batting left-handed, .287 BAbip batting righty.

At age 31, Victorino ought to have at least a few more productive seasons. The first catch? He's only under contract for 2012, and stands to become a free agent at the end of the year. Without an obvious replacement in the minor leagues, and no real permanent fallback on the big league roster (John Mayberry's workmanlike substitutions notwithstanding), there's going to be a good bit of pressure on the Phillies to re-sign Victorino, at a pretty substantial price, particularly if he approaches his 2011 numbers. The situation mirrors Jimmy Rollins' status from this past offseason in a lot of ways, with Victorino being closer to the prime of his career.

The second catch? With multiple stretches on the disabled list over the past few seasons, it's fair to label the high-energy Victorino as injury prone at this point.

As much as Cole Hamels's impending free agency looms over spring training and the season, should an extension not be negotiated, the Victorino contract situation could prove to be almost as worrisome, although the center fielder has been a little less, shall we say, "hard-nosed" in his public stance vis-a-vis returning to Philadelphia for 2013.

As far as what to expect for 2012, should he remain healthy, Victorino should prove once again to be one of MLB's best outfielders, a well-rounded combination of speed, defense, and pop. Real contention for an MVP award might be unlikely, but we can dream, right?

Contract details (courtesy Cot's Contracts)

  • 3 years/$22M (2010-12)
    • signed extension with Philadelphia 1/21/10 (avoided arbitration, $5.8M-$4.75M)
    • 10:$5M, 11:$7.5M, 12:$9.5M
    • 2012 salary increases 1) by $1M to $10.5M with either MVP in 2010 or 2011 or 2nd place in MVP vote in both 2010 and 2011, 2) by $0.5M to $10M with 2nd or 3rd place in MVP vote in 2010 or 2011, 3) by $0.25M to $9.75M with 4th or 5th place in MVP vote in 2010 or 2011
    • award bonuses: $0.1M for MVP ($75,000 for 2nd in vote, $50,000 for 3rd). $0.1M for WS MVP. $50,000 each for Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, All-Star, LCS MVP. $50,000 each for AP, The Sporting News or Baseball America All-Star
    • limited no-trade protection
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1999 18 LAD-min Rk 55 254 225 53 63 7 6 2 25 20 5 20 31 .280 .335 .391 .726 88 3 0 6 3 0 GRF · PION
2000 19 LAD-min A- 61 273 236 32 58 7 2 2 20 21 9 20 44 .246 .310 .318 .628 75 3 3 12 2 1 YAK · NORW
2001 20 LAD-min A,A+ 114 499 441 73 124 21 9 4 32 47 13 39 62 .281 .346 .397 .743 175 3 5 13 1 0 WLT,VRO · SALL,FLOR
2002 21 LAD-min AA 122 550 481 61 124 15 1 4 34 45 16 47 49 .258 .328 .318 .646 153 6 4 16 2 0 JCK · SOUL
2003 22 LAD-min AA,AAA 77 338 307 43 91 10 6 3 24 16 8 22 46 .296 .347 .397 .745 122 4 3 4 2 1 JCK,LVG · SOUL,PCL
2003 22 SDP NL 36 83 73 8 11 2 0 0 4 7 2 7 17 .151 .232 .178 .410 14 13 5 1 1 1 0 87/9
2005 24 PHI-min AAA 126 559 494 93 153 25 16 18 70 17 9 51 74 .310 .377 .534 .912 264 4 5 5 4 2 SWB · IL
2005 24 PHI NL 21 19 17 5 5 0 0 2 8 0 0 0 3 .294 .263 .647 .910 124 11 0 0 0 2 0 /879
2006 25 PHI NL 153 462 415 70 119 19 8 6 46 4 3 24 54 .287 .346 .414 .760 91 172 5 14 8 1 0 *879
2007 26 PHI-min AA,A 3 11 11 1 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 .273 .273 .273 .545 3 1 0 0 0 0 REA,LWD · EL,SALL
2007 26 PHI NL 131 510 456 78 128 23 3 12 46 37 4 37 62 .281 .347 .423 .770 95 193 10 10 5 2 1 *9/8
2008 27 PHI-min AAA,A+,AA 5 18 16 1 6 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 1 .375 .444 .375 .819 6 0 0 0 0 0 LHV,CLW,REA · IL,FLOR,EL
2008 27 PHI NL 146 627 570 102 167 30 8 14 58 36 11 45 69 .293 .352 .447 .799 106 255 8 7 5 0 2 *8/9 GG
2009 28 PHI NL 156 694 620 102 181 39 13 10 62 25 8 60 71 .292 .358 .445 .803 110 276 5 6 4 4 1 *8 AS,MVP-18,GG
2010 29 PHI-min AAA 2 6 6 1 4 0 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 1.500 2.167 9 0 0 0 0 0 LHV · IL
2010 29 PHI NL 147 648 587 84 152 26 10 18 69 34 6 53 79 .259 .327 .429 .756 101 252 6 7 0 1 5 *8 GG
2011 30 PHI-min AA,A 6 25 21 3 6 1 0 1 5 1 2 2 4 .286 .360 .476 .836 10 0 1 0 1 0 REA,LWD · EL,SALL
2011 30 PHI NL 132 586 519 95 145 27 16 17 61 19 3 55 63 .279 .355 .491 .847 129 255 4 6 6 0 1 *8 AS,MVP-13
8 Seasons 922 3629 3257 544 908 166 58 79 354 162 37 281 418 .279 .344 .438 .783 104 1427 43 51 29 11 10
162 Game Avg. 162 638 572 96 160 29 10 14 62 28 7 49 73 .279 .344 .438 .783 104 251 8 9 5 2 2
PHI (7 yrs) 886 3546 3184 536 897 164 58 79 350 155 35 274 401 .282 .347 .444 .791 106 1414 38 50 28 10 10
SDP (1 yr) 36 83 73 8 11 2 0 0 4 7 2 7 17 .151 .232 .178 .410 14 13 5 1 1 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/22/2012.

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