Phillies OF fill specific needs for new teams
July, 31, 2012
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Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino fill specific needs for their new teams.
How does each player fit with his new team?
VICTORINO TO THE DODGERS
He’s in the middle of a down season but Victorino fills a pretty specific need for Los Angeles -- a top-of-the-order hitter. The Dodgers are in the bottom three in the National League in almost every offensive category from the leadoff spot.
It’s not his strongest position in the order but Victorino has made more than 850 plate appearances in the leadoff spot, and this year, despite a down season, is performing much better than the Dodgers’ leadoff hitters.
With Matt Kemp manning center and Andre Ethier in right, Victorino will likely play left. Dodgers leftfielders are at or near the bottom of the National League in most offensive categories.
Victorino has also performed well in his new home park, hitting .357 with an OPS of 1.045. His batting average, on-base and slugging percentages and OPS are his best or second-best in any National League park (outside the NL East).
The Dodgers may have gotten themselves an underrated player. Since 2008 only seven outfielders have a higher Wins Above Replacement than Victorino and he brings value in different ways. Over the same five-year span, only one outfielder has more WAR Runs Baserunning, a stat on Baseball Reference that rates all aspects of baserunning, including stolen bases, taking extra bases and not making outs.
PENCE TO THE GIANTS
Pence can certainly be a boost in the power department to a punchless outfield. Giants outfielders are in the bottom third of the major leagues in home runs and extra-base hits and are just 15th in slugging percentage. They also could use his right-handed thump -- the Giants rank 14th or worse in the National League in slugging, isolated power and home runs among right-handed batters.
Pence is a downgrade defensively, however, in right field. After leading all major league right fielders with 17 Defensive Runs Saved in 2009, Pence has regressed in that category in each season, down to -6 this season. That’s tied for fifth among major league right fielders.
Giants right fielders -- mostly Gregor Blanco and the departed Nate Schierholtz -- combined for 8 Defensive Run Saved, tied for second among National League teams.
SOMETHING IN COMMON
Both players rate poorly in a specific defensive metric -- Plus/Minus on balls hit to the deepest part of the ballpark. Victorino is last among major league outfielders with a -23 on deep balls this season, and he and Michael Saunders are the only are the only players worse than Pence, who’s tied with three others at -17.