Rarely will you ever see Shane Victorino end up last in a race. However, one of the finest Phillies moments of the 2009 season was when he did.
Victorino was voted in as the final player on the National League All Star roster for the midsummer classic in St. Louis, receiving 15.6 million votes online. He was the fifth and final Phillie to join the squad, along with Utley, Howard, Werth, and Ibanez.
Fans around the country became aware of the Flyin’ Hawaiian because of his immense speed and that jovial expression. His speed is evident in the 13 triples he provided last season – the most in baseball – to go with his ability to cover a ridiculous amount of ground when patrolling centerfield. He earned his second Rawlings Gold Glove following the ’09 season.
Offensively, Shane has been one of the most consistent Phillies since his tenure began. He’s hit between .281 and .293 in his four full seasons in Philadelphia, plus has stolen 102 bases in that same time frame. His walks, RBI, on-base percentage, hits, and doubles have all risen each season he has been here.
In addition, he was one of the most steady Phillies in the postseason, hitting .293 with three homers in 15 games. All of those qualities are making him a household name, but will also make him a rich man very soon.
That brings us to the contract situation. Will Shane be here after the 2010 campaign? He is eligible for arbitration this offseason and after making $3.125 million last year, that number will surely skyrocket following the intangibles and superlatives laid before you. Figure that number to be somewhere in the $6 million range for ’10. Beyond that, it’s unknown how much money the Phillies have to spend when other names like Werth, Rollins, and Howard all heading for free agency. Is Shane expendable with the impending Domonic Brown take over in the outfield? We will soon find out.
Whether he stays or goes in the next 12 months, he is the heartbeat of this team. He makes the blood flow, especially when Jimmy Rollins struggles, because of his speed/smarts at the top of the order. Shane is a vital cog to the success of the Phillies, that much we know. Let’s hope it continues for many years to come as part of this championship-caliber franchise.
2009 numbers: .292 avg., 10 HR, 62 RBI, 25 SB, 39 2B, 13 3B, 102 R, .803 OPS
GRADE: 8.4/10: Shane had an All-Star season from start to finish, although he did hit the skids at the end just a bit. Still, he’s one of the best all around players in the game and is an integral part of the Phillies.