I just watched Shane Victorino hit his 8th HR in the 3rd inning of a fixture against the Giants (shout out to all dem Barclays Premiere League fans), and it inspired me to write a quick post about him. Also, if that home run wasn’t enough reason to write about him, his walk up song is “Three Little Birds.” That’s so much fun. My god that’s a lot of fun.
Anyway, on a more serious note, Victorino has been one of the most important pieces to the Red Sox’ resurgence this season. Some found the Victorino signing as a bit of a head scratching move by the front office (along with the Napoli signing, which our newest member just did a fantastic job analyzing).
However, Victorino has been one of Boston’s most important players, and a lot of his value comes from his defense. According to fangraphs, he has already posted an 18.4 UZR, which is good for 3rd in all of baseball, and 1st among right fielders. Although the defense wasn’t the Sox’ biggest problem last season, they managed to improve from 13th to 4th in the Right Field position from 2012 to 2013 (according to UZR). That, again, is thanks to Shane’s speedy legs.
Although Victornio has been middle of the pack in terms of his offensive production, his bat has not hurt the Red Sox (102 wRC+). Just like he has provided stability in the outfield, he has been a rock while hitting 2nd in the lineup. He provides good speed and a solid .336 OBP which sets the table for the big bats that follow.
Most importantly, Victorino has been extremely important to Boston’s turn around in terms of dollar value. According to Fangraphs, Victorino would have been worth $18.3 MM on the open market thus far in 2013. Projecting that out for the rest of the season, Victorino should be worth about $21.3 MM by the end of the year. That’s already more than half of the 3-year, $39 MM contract the front office gave him in the offseason. Before this year, many felt that his contract was a dumb move by the Red Sox, but it thus far he has been a steal for Boston. It was clear after the fire sale last year that the front office needed to be better when handing out big money, and with Victorino they have definitely been much smarter.
In conclusion, this is my message to you-oo oo: lets appreciate the work that the Flyin’ Hawaiian has done this season, and recognize that he’s been one of the most important reasons that Boston is still leading in the AL East.