Shane Victorino, OF (SWB)
2008: 570 AB / 102 R / 14 HR / 58 RBI / 45 BB / 69 SO / 36 SB / .293 AVG / .352 OBP / .447 SLG
Summary: Playing more games than ever and given the chance to hit ahead of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino scored a career-high 102 runs in 2008. He set that up by stealing 36 bases, one off his career best set in 2007. He also helped his cause by improving his on-base percentage by five points. His walk rates actually dipped slightly, but so did his strikeout rates. His slugging percentage reached career-best levels, as well, especially as he grew hotter in the second half. He hit .311 with nine home runs, then parlayed that into a record-breaking postseason. He remained choosy at the plate, swinging only at 28.7 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, making contact 75 percent of the time, down from 2007. He remained a good hitter within the zone. He won a Gold Glove despite his range factor of 2.42 in center field, which was worst among qualifiers at his position. Still, he committed just two errors in almost 1,200 innings.
Career Level: Prime (Year 1)
Green Flags: Victorino’s slugging rose, especially toward the end of the season. As he enters ages 28 and 29, it’s possible the power surge can come. … His line drive rates rose from 16.6 percent to 19.2 percent from 2007 to ’08. … Victorino hit much better against right-handers in 2008, going at a .298 clip. Against lefties he was .282. His power remains from the right side.
Red Flags: Victorino was caught stealing 11 times in 2008, which might deter him somewhat from stealing in 2009. … Health has always been an issue for Victorino, as he missed some games last season, as well. … He remains suspect in tight situatons, with a .240 average in late-and-close situations and a .262 mark with two outs and runners in scoring position. Still, he came through a few times late in the season and in the postseason.
Prognostication: Victorino’s top comparable is Bernard Gilkey, who began to found a power stroke at age 28 before exploding at age 29. Victorino isn’t quite built for power, but he is a muscular hitter who likes to drive the ball more than chop or slap it, and he lives at Citizens Bank half the season. Does that mean he’ll hit 25 home runs? No. But he could approach 20. His averages might even reach their highs in 2009 — at least slugging. But expect his strikeouts to rise considerably, too. Most projections are saying he’ll play less — I’ll say he plays more.
2009 Projection: 603 AB / 106 R / 19 HR / 62 RBI / 44 BB / 87 SO / 33 SB / .285 AVG / .348 OBP / .455 SLG