Victorino - An Abomination when facing RHP in 2010

Promoted as well. RTP has his big boy stat pants on today.

Quick -- name an MLB player with an on-base percentage of .317 who is on pace to get 660 AB! If the giant "VICTORINO" in the headline didn't help you, then nothing will. Why are the Phillies struggling this year? The outfield production has fallen off. Ibanez has rightly taken some blame, but Shane Victorino deserves some scorn, too, and not just for this shirt. Mostly, it is related to his inability to deal with RHP in 2010, whereas he was at least reasonably decent in past years.

Victorino has a couple of sins to confess this year, aside from his fashion sense and his somewhat frightening mauling of fellow players, though to be fair Dobbs should be gored with a bat. The sins?

1. His OBP is atrocious, and

2. He can't hit RHP this year

These may really be two symptoms of the same illness (struggles against RHP), but I'd like to break it out a little to highlight different points.


1. Victorino's OBP is atrocious: Last year, Victorino got on base at a rate of .358. This year, it is .317. Over the course of 660 at bats in a year, that represents 24 fewer opportunities at being on base. Against RHP (see below), his OBP is .297. That is beyond bad. That is a serious problem. Versus LHP, he is getting on at .374. He is Francoeur-like when facing RHP, folks.


2. Victorino can't hit RHP this year:

The OPS really says it all: 

Year     RHP     LHP

2010     .701     .960

2009     .787     .844

2008     .762     .882

Against RHP, he has been just terrible. Considering that about 40% of his at bats are against LHP and 60% are against RHP, the problems with RHP are even more magnified. His raw average this year RHP/LHP is: .228/.323.

For his career, he has demonstrated that he is an adequate hitter from the left side against RHP, but this year, he is having serious struggles. I also checked his power numbers -- they are better against LHP also: Victorino has 5 HR against LHP and 10 vs RHP. Remember that his ratio of RH at bats to LH-AB is about 2.7/1, though. His HR/AB is 1/20 against lefties and 1/27 against RHP. 

Should Victorino sit against tough RHP starters at least? Perhaps. It's worth exploring what might fix the Phillies through platoon uses. Also, if the Phillies are seriously considering trading Werth, the platoon aspects should be part of the discussion. It might be easier to get half of of a platoon than it would be to get a full-time player. Also, if the Phillies are after marginal WAR, finding a part-time OF that can hit RHP well might pay some dividends, and it might be possible to pull off without trading Werth.

Gload may not be able to do it, but it might be worth at least thinking about starting two lineups (LF/CF/RF):

RHP: Ibanez/Werth/Gload

LHP: Francisco/Victorino/Werth

Even if this was just "once in a while" it might keep the reserves (and the aging OF) fresh while working for gains from platooning. The team could alternate Werth/Victorino once in a while against easier RHP to give Werth some rest, especially on those "day game after night game" situations....