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Phillies Profile – Shane Victorino- “Flyin’ Hawaiian”

In Philadelphia Phillies on March 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Over the next 28 days Philly Pressbox (https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com) (@phillypressbox) will be doing a review and analysis of each Phillies player, Manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff leading up to Opening Day 2012.  On Day 14 we preview, Shane Victorino.

Shane Victorino – The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” is another of the amazing stories that have helped make up the “Greatest Era in Phillies Baseball History”. Shane was drafted in the 6th round of the 1999 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In December of 2002, the San Diego Padres drafted Shane away from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 draft. In May 2003, he was returned from the Padres to the Dodgers. In December 2004, he was again drafted as a Rule 5 player by the Phillies from the Dodgers. An explanation of a Rule 5 draftee is, “Any player selected under Rule 5 is immediately added to his new team’s 40-man roster; thus, teams who do not have an available roster spot may not participate in the Rule 5 draft. Players who are not currently on their team’s 40-man roster are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft. If chosen in the Rule 5 draft, a player must be kept on the selecting team’s 25-man major league roster for the entire season after the draft. He may not be optioned or designated to the minors. The selecting team may, at any time, waive the Rule 5 draftee. If a Rule 5 draftee clears waivers by not signing with a new MLB team, he must be offered back to the original team, effectively canceling the Rule 5 draft choice. Each draftee costs $50,000. If the draftee does not stay on the selecting team’s 25-man (major league) roster all season, the player must be offered back to his original team at half-price.” Based on the definition above you can see that Shane was having trouble sticking in both Los Angeles and San Diego. That’s what makes his story with the Phillies so amazing.

In 2006, the Flyin’ Hawaiian became a full time starter for the Phils and quickly became a fan favorite of the Philadelphia faithful. He hit .287 with 6 Home Runs and 46 RBI’s, while playing all three outfield positions. In 2007, playing almost all of his games in rightfield, Shane hit .281 with 12 home runs and again had 46 RBI’s and 37 stolen bases. 2008, was the breakout season for Victorino. As the starting centerfielder Shane won his first Gold Glove Award, hit .293 with 14 home runs, 58 RBI’s and 36 stolen bases as the Phillies won the World Series.

Shane continued to improve after the breakout 2008 season by making his first All Star team in 2009 and winning his second Gold Glove. He also led the league in Triples for the first time with 13. 2010 led to career highs in home runs, 18, and RBI’s, 69, but the lowest batting average of his big league career, .259. He did win his third straight Gold Glove Award. 2011 saw Shane make his second All Star game appearance as he bounced back with a .279, 17 and 61 season. He again led the league in Triples with 16.

As a result of his fine play Shane has been paid well by the Phillies. He will be paid $9.5m in 2012, the final year of his 3 year – $22m contract.

Personal Analysis:

Like all of the regulars, Shane is an integral part of the Phillies success and must have another one of his typical seasons. This is also a contract year for the 31 year old. Crazy things can happen in contract years! The key for Shane and the Phillies is for Shane to stay within himself and not try to be a power hitter. As pointed out earlier, the year he had the most home runs in his career is the year he had his lowest battling average. The Phils need guys on base so they can manufacturer runs rather than depend on the long ball as much. The Flyin’ Hawaiian still has plenty of speed and the ability to steal bases and the Phils will need that as well. Playing solid centerfield has become a given since Shane became the full timer there and that won’t change. With this being a contract year we’re going to predict a contract renewal type season for Victorino, .295 batting average, 190+ hits, 12 HR’s, 70 RBI’s, 35 stolen bases, a Gold Gove and another trip to the All Star game,

With that will come a new deal to keep the Flyin’ Hawaiian in Philadelphia for 3 more years!

Tomorrow we will preview Hunter Pence.

The series: Day 1, Charlie Manuel. Day 2, The Coaching Staff. Day 3, Roy Halladay. Day 4, Cliff Lee. Day 5, Cole Hamels. Day 6, Vance Worley. Day 7, Joe Blanton. Day 8, Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz. Day 9, Ryan Howard. Day 10, Chase Utley. Day 11, Jimmy Rollins. Day 12, Placido Polanco. Day 13, John Mayberry, Jr.

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Pick Your Favorite All Time Phillie

In Philadelphia Phillies on February 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

After watching a disappointing 1 point 76ers lose to the Clippers last night we woke up to several inches of snow on the ground and it’s still snowing. It made me think that we’re only a week from Pitchers and Catchers reporting to Spring Training in Clearwater. Opening day of April 5 is not far away!!!

 What a great time to look back at our favorite Phillies of all time.

 Depending on how old you are there are different groups of Phils that you would probably consider your favorites. I’m sure you have your own list but here are a few to jog your memory. Remember you only get to pick 5. It makes it a lot tougher.

1950’s – Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Del Ennis, Andy Seminick, Jim Konstanty, Willie “Puddin Head” Jones

1960’s – Jim Bunning, Johnny Callison, Richie Allen, Tony Taylor, Cookie Rojas

1970’s & 80’s – Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, Gary Maddox, Larry Bowa, Bob Boone, Tug McGraw, Greg Luzinski

1990’s – John Kruk, Darren Daulton, Lenny Dykstra, Curt Shilling, Dave Hollins, Jim Eisenreich, Mitch Williams

2000’s – Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Roy Halliday, Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, “Chooch” Ruiz

Here are my 5 favorites Phillies of all time:

  1. Mike Schmidt – I could switch 1 and 2 with no problem. Schmitty played every day, hit 548 Home Runs, won 10 Gold Gloves and 3 MVP’s.
  2. Steve Carlton – There was no one better. Lefty won 329 games with 4,136 strikeouts. He won 4 Cy Young Awards. To put his career in perspective he has 141 more wins and over 1,200 more strikeouts than Halliday who’s arguably the best pitcher of this era.
  3. Brad Lidge – His perfect season in engrained in my head. In 2008 he was 2-0, 1.95 ERA, and 41 saves in 41 opportunities in the regular season and added 7 more saves in the playoffs. This is possibly the greatest season ever by a Phillie at any position. In 4 seasons with the Phils he had 41, 31, 27 and 1 save for 100 regular season saves and 12 post-season saves.
  4. Johnny Callison – My first favorite Phillie as a kid. He played for the Phils from 1960-1969 and hit 185 Home Runs. He was a runner up MVP in 1964 and the All Star game MVP.
  5. Chase Utley – Although it doesn’t look like Chase is going to get the Hall of Fame numbers I thought he was I still just like everything about the way he plays. He’s fundamentally sound player you love to coach and have on your team. As “Harry The K” would say “Chase Utley you are The Man”!!!

The Phils, Hamels and Spring Training

In Philadelphia Phillies on January 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

I woke up this morning to the great news that Cole Hamels is back in the fold for another year. As I’m looking out the window watching the snow fall on this frigid January day the Hamels signing makes me think about getting started in sunny Clearwater Florida. I can see Doc Halladay working out at the Carpenter Complex as I’m typing. As far as Hamels $15 million is nothing to sneeze at but I’d sure like to see a long term deal, 3 -4 years, made to keep Hamels through his prime years. It seems hard to believe that Cole is just 28 years old since he’s been in the big leagues with the Phils since 2006. I think he was the most consistent of the starters last season, including Halliday. The offense just didn’t score runs for him. His 2011 stats of 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA and 0.99 WHIP (walks, hits per innings pitched) were career bests. He could have easily won 4 more games with a little more offense.

That brings us to the 2012 season. Is this a better team than the 2011 team? As it stands today I don’t think so. It’s safe to say that the offense hasn’t improved at all. We have lost Raul Ibanez, it was probably time to go, and plan to replace him on a full time basis with former part timer John Mayberry. Mayberry deserves a chance after having a nice 2011 as a reserve. He hit .273 with 15 HR’s and 49 RBI’s. The problem is that Mayberry has never had more than 8 RBI’s in a season before that and he’s 28 years old. To be safe there needs to be a backup plan. At this point the outfield reserves are Lance Nix and Dom Brown. I’m not comfortable there. Obviously there’s a lot expected from Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence in the other outfield spots. Pence will have his hands full early in the season with Ryan Howard on the disabled list. Pence will likely be asked to bat in the clean-up spot.

The infield hasn’t changed except that it got a year older and hopefully gets healthier. This is the year for Chase Utley. Utley is still a solid player but has fallen out of the elite group over the last couple years. Most of that has been blamed on health issues, which may be true; however it’s time to get back to the old Chase. Over the last 5 seasons his batting average has been .332, .292, .282, .275, and .259. His HR numbers have also declined over that period, 22, 33, 31, 16, and 11, and with that comes RBI reductions, 103, 104, 93, 65 and 44. Chase turns 32 years old this Spring. As stated earlier this is a critical year for both Chase and the Phillies success. Placido Polanco had an outstanding first half of the season. It was obvious he fought through injuries for a good part of the season. He was still selected to the All Star game and won the Gold Glove at 3rd base. Polly is 36 years old. He needs a healthy 2012. It’s good to have Jimmy Rollins back. I like JRoll but didn’t want to over pay him or sign him for too long. He’s been the leader of the line-up but has obviously tailed off since his MVP year of 2007. His average from 2007-2011 has been .296, .277, .250, .243 and .268 although his On Base Percentage has stayed pretty much level. Jimmy needs to get on base and be the guy that drives this offense. JRoll is now 33 years old. That brings us to Ryan Howard and his health. The Phils need a healthy Ryan Howard and they need him soon. Howard still strikes out way too much but there are only a few players that can say they’ve driven in over 100 runs 6 years in a row while hitting between 31 and 58 HR’s over those years. Howard is also 32 years old and won’t be able to keep producing these numbers forever. The infield bench doesn’t look much different. We’ve added future Hall of Famer and 1st class guy in Jim Thome and his 604 career home runs and Ty Wiggington as reserves. Thome is expected to be the left handed and Wiggington the right handed reserves/pinch hitters off the bench.  Wouldn’t it be great if Thome can be ready to start while Howard is injured and produce great numbers? The other infield reserves are Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez. They both are adequate reserves. One of these two likely won’t be around when camp breaks. Overall I don’t see any improvement in the infield.

The catchers are still Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider. Chooch had a nice season last year and has become a top notch catcher in the National League. He caught 132 games last year and turns 33 years old before Spring Training. Schneider does a nice job as a backup but it’s time to be getting someone ready to take over the catcher spot in the near future.

The starting pitching will still be strong with Halladay, Hamels, Cliff Lee, and 2 of the 3, Vance Worley, Joe Blanton or Kyle Kendrick. Whoever loses out on the 5th starter spot will move to the bullpen unless a trade is made. I like Worley and Blanton in those spots but Kendrick pitched well at the end of last season.

I’m having real problems with the bullpen. I’m okay with the signing of Jonathan Papelbon. In the last 6 seasons he’s recorded 35, 37, 41, 38, 37 and 31 saves. He’s a proven guy that can get it done. With that said I’d like to have seen Ryan Madson stay. Obviously something went wrong whether it was the Phillies, Madson or agent Scott Boras. Either way, Madson didn’t get the free agent deal he was expecting, 1 year – $8.5m with Cincinnati, and will not be back. It would’ve been nice to have Papelbon and Madson if it was possible. The rest of the bullpen looks like Antonio Bastardo as the lefty, Michael Stutes as the righty. Both of these guys had outstanding rookie years before running low in the gas tank toward the end of the season. That leaves just 2 spots left, assuming that either Valdez or Martinez is not with the club clearing out a spot, those choices are Jose Contrares, coming off an injury, David Herndon, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery and Justin De Fratus. I don’t know about you but that bullpen doesn’t scare me. The key could be Savery, a former 1st round draft pick that seems to finally be coming in to his own as a left handed reliever. He needs time to prove he can pitch at the big league level.

It’s time to get started. I think I can hear bats and balls as I’m looking through the snow. It’s time to make another run to a World Championship!

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