And the award for scariest spring training photo goes to….Shane Victorino! We all remember Torii Hunter flipping over the wall on David Ortiz‘s Grand Slam in the epic game two showdown with the Detroit Tigers. But we also can’t forget this…
Victorino is going to miss some games. We can let that go and as long as he gives us a good 125 games, I am thrilled to have him patrolling right field. Here is a look at the Sox right field position for 2014:
It was hard to see what the Red Sox saw in Shane Victorino after his 2012 season where he only hit for a .707 OPS.
Not only did he work his way into the hearts of Red Sox Nation but he regained his hitting prowess with a .801 OPS with 26 doubles and 15 HRs. And when you talk about clutch performers on the Sox his name has to be on there. Without him the Red Sox don’t win last year’s World Series.
Defensively Shane is a fine outfielder that uses his speed to get to balls in the gaps. He also possesses a very good throwing arm as his 10 outfield assists show.
The only knock I have on Shane is his ability to stay on the field. He doesn’t know how to not throw his body into a play, making him more susceptible to injury. I admire his “Dirt Dawg” like mentality but I’d rather he stay on the field then run into walls and become injured.
Going forward there may be a slight decline, not uncommon for a player over 32 years of age but it shouldn’t be drastic enough where the Sox would seek a replacement player.
Because we have already spoken in great detail about Daniel Nava, Mike Carp, and Jonny Gomes, we can really just focus on Victorino when it comes to right field.
His stats last year were very much in line with his career averages. Even with his age and injury history, I believe Victorino will hit similarly to last season with a bit of a drop in his slugging percentage and batting average. I do think that with Jacoby Ellsbury gone, Victorino will run more, or at least be encouraged to run more. He will still be a big positive for this team on the field, but the question is what happens if Victorino goes down for an extended period of time?
A new face is entering the discussion. OF Bryce Brentz hasn’t quite made the leap some expected him to over the past year or so. However, he is having a good start to this spring and has the skill-set to make this team out of Spring Training. He is more of a right fielder than anything else and would be a great fill-in on days where the Sox want to stack the lineup with lefties. It is just an idea, but let’s see what Victorino can offer starting from opening day. If he is good to go, then one of the last spots may be left for the bullpen.