One of Beerleaguer's hottest debates of the off-season focused on whether yesterday's hero and collectible figurine, Shane Victorio, was capable of becoming a full-time right-fielder. While his power production has been less than most corners, the rest of his game has been rock solid.
Sometimes it's beneficial to step outside the box and look at what other teams are doing, and how the Phillies stack up. It’s worth it with an oddity like Victorino, who’s unlike any other right fielder in the National League.
NL right fielders tend to be the same basic variety, a little less impressive than their counterparts in left field, players like Brad Hawpe, Shawn Green, but also some real productive ones like Ken Griffey Jr. and Jeff Francouer. Victorino isn’t a prototype at the position but it doesn’t mean he isn’t pulling his weight. You look at how he stacks up against other NL regulars and it's not too shabby. Defensively, he's tremendous, but offensively, his OBP has stayed on the high side and he's generating runs. Credit a lot of that to his speed and beating out groundballs, which he seems to do every other game, but he's also drawn 22 walks, which is third on the team and ranks high among his NL counterparts. The difference is he’s turning his walks and base hits into scoring chances. His 16 stolen bases leads the team and is far more than any NL right fielder.
The production adds up. He's third in runs created for NL RFs behind Francouer and Junior. Vic plays a lot while some other teams go with a platoon, which is part of why he ranks so high. However, his RC/G is better than average for regular right fielders.
I'm honestly a little surprised; I probably fell among the skeptical side of the Victorino debate, believing he’d overstay his welcome there. After two months of regular play, I would have pegged him for a .250 average, 40 strikeouts and a .310 OBP. It's been a nice little development watching him stay productive like this, and his arm has been magnificent.
Ballpark and pitching thoughts
The last time the Phillies had a walk off home run, I wrote a little Carlos Ruiz tribute that made it onto SI.com. It won’t happen this time. The circumstances were a little less dramatic yesterday, plus it was one of those patented Citizens Bank Park cheapies. They’re happening with greater frequency now.
I can’t get inside the head of Phillies pitchers, but I wonder how much that short porch weighs on their minds and alters the way they pitch. The rain had something to do with it yesterday, but how many times do you see Ryan Madson and Geoff Geary nibble? They’re shockingly better pitchers on the road this season. Madson’s career would have new life if he was liberated from CBP and given a bigger playground. I don't think he'd be so fine with his pitches. If I’m a GM like Jim Bowden in Washington, who reportedly took interest in Madson this winter, I’d continue to place calls about him. He would be a cheap building block for a young starting rotation.
Ex-Phillies stinking up Texas
Beerleaguer senior correspondent Martin Smith calls attention to the Texas Rangers, where ex-Phillies right-hander Robinson Tejeda leads all starting pitchers with a 6.28 ERA. Then it’s Brandon McCarthy (6.38), Kameron Loe (6.37), ex-Phil Vicente Padilla (6.45) and ex-Phil Kevin Millwood (6.69). Tejeda pitched yesterday and allowed seven runs over 5 2-3 innings.
New Rowand trade rumor surfaces
From Chicago Sun-Times: The Sox were close to making a deal with the Phillies at the winter meetings and again in spring training that would've brought back South Side cult figure Aaron Rowand and sent bullpen help to the middle-relief-starved Phillies.
The snag in the spring was that Philadelphia reportedly wanted left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, rather than Boone Logan and a package of minor-leaguers. The Sox have a new card to play with, however, and could offer a disappointing Mike MacDougal along with a minor-leaguer for Rowand.
Ottawa HR ratio: It can’t be the cold weather
Home runs hit: 11
Home runs allowed: 49