What Does Shane Victorino Bring To The Table?
By Conor Duffy
The short answer to this question would be “a little bit of everything.” The Red Sox didn’t bring Shane Victorino aboard to be a star; they brought him aboard because he is a solid player and an absolute jack-of-all-trades. He hasn’t had much of a spring thus far, batting just .160/.300/.360 in 29 plate appearances, and that has been coupled with his departure to play in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA. However, don’t let that put a damper on your opinion of him, because as long as Victorino leaves camp on a hot streak, he should be good to go, and his three-run triple last night is certainly a start.
Mar 6, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Team USA outfielder Shane Victorino (50) singles during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Victorino should supply a spark plug at the top of the lineup, where he’ll likely be hitting much of the time. He will add plenty of speed at the top of the lineup, and chances are that he and Ellsbury will combine to steal a very good number of bases if they each stay healthy. However, he isn’t the typical all-speed guy, he also will hit for a bit of average (career .281 hitter) and even some power (.432 career slugging percentage). Victorino will be motivated by his worst season last year when he batted .255/.321/.383, and became hapless against right-handed pitching, so if he can get back to normal a .270/.340/.420 season wouldn’t be out of sight.
On the other hand, defensively, expect Victorino to be nothing short of a star out in right field. He has a career 6.7 UZR/150 in the outfield, and when he is playing right field, that number jumps to an elite 19.5. He has a good arm and had 9 outfield assists last year, which would have put him seventh in the majors last year (he played mostly center field).
On the whole, do not expect Victorino to be a stud who finished top 10 in MVP voting. Instead, expect him to be a solid player who can and hopefully will do it all for the Red Sox. Fenway Park will help him when he’s hitting both left-handed and right-handed as it will maximize power from the right side and doubles and triples from the left side. Even if Victorino only does what he did last year, it’s only for three years, and he still wasn’t all that bad.