Grading the Phillies: Outfield

In 2009, each of the Phillies outfielders made the All-Star game. This time, none of the three outfielders were honored in July.

In likely one of the las few posts about him, Jayson Werth had the best season of the trio. Raul Ibanez tried to get healthy and even showed some flashes of brilliance at the plate but age prevented him from being a daily threat. Shane Victorino had a typical year, taking over in lead-off situations for much of the season when Jimmy Rollins went down.

Overall, the outfield struggled. Werth may have put up some solid numbers and Victorino and Ibanez had bright spots but it was a disappointing effort and where they normally bat in the order were causes to why this team struggled offensively.

Ibanez – .275 AVG, 16 HR, 83 RBI.

Ibanez went through one of the roughest first halves in baseball. At July 1, he was batting .236 but had a tremendous July in which he batted .347 with four homers and 15 RBIs that month.

But Ibanez struck out, grounded, and flew out way too much. He did post a .304 average with runners in scoring position. His RBI and power numbers were down a bit and at times was an offensive liability. He still had a typical year slightly below what he has done throughout his career.

What Ibanez is to the Phillies is a liability. There are rumors that he could be swapped for another aging, over-payed outfielder that bats on the right side of the plate. If that’s the case, it will probably spell the end of Werth and the start of Domonic Brown.

Grade: C

Centerfielder Shane Victorino is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Victorino – .259 AVG, 10 3B, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 34 SB.

Victorino is one of the more dynamic players in the Phillies outfield. Mixing ability at the plate with speed on the bases and field and a great arm has made him a dangerous weapon.

But Victorino didn’t consistently do his part at the plate. Batting in the lead-off spot and in the seven-hole for almost the entire season, Victorino saw his rolls change rapidly and therefor couldn’t get into much of a rhythm.

Victorino never batted over .300 in a month and only batting over .280 twice. This is not reflective of his career .279 average (that’s with factoring in the poor hitting 2010).

His RISP numbers were very good for someone who was all over the place in the line up. He batted .285 while driving in 50 runs with RISP and was a torrid .429 with the bases loaded. His 68 RBIs total were a career high along with his 18 home runs.

Victorino got comfortable in the lead-off spot, batting .276 with a .346 OBP in his 82 games as the lead-off man. But leading off the game, he had only a .297 OBP, an indication he needed time to settle into his role.

Grade: B-

Werth -.296 AVG, 46 2B, 27 HR, 85 RBI, 147 K.

This is a tricky season to grade. Werth put up great numbers but went long stretches without producing any RBIs or long balls.

Werth suffered much of a set-back from his 2009 season with 14 fewer RBIs and nine less home runs despite hitting a career-high .296 as a full-season starter. He also led the league with 46 doubles.

Free agent outfielder Jayson Werth could be running to a new team this off season. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

But despite the very good numbers, there were two big parts of his game that stood out that need to be corrected if he wants to actually deserve the money he will be getting.

Werth couldn’t drive anybody in from scoring position. He batted .186 with RISP in 140 at-bats. Yea, that’s your five-hole hitter; the guy who is supposed to protect Ryan Howard and drive in runs behind him. And to add to how unclutch Werth was, with two outs and RISP, Werth batted .139 in 72 at-bats.

His other number that was terrible were his 147 strike outs and the led the team with 31 backwards-K’s. Granted he’s no Howard in the K-category and it was actually a drop-off from last season, Werth is a much better hitter than Howard and should not be striking out as much as he does.

The big part about Werth’s game that causes him to go down on strikes is his patience. He led the majors with 4.37 pitcher seen per plate appearance (P/PA). That’s an incredible number. But by being patient, he puts himself in a better position to guess wrong and strike out.

Werth is as good as gone this off season barring a home-town discount. Whoever lands Werth will be blessed with a special player. But they could also be inheriting a lot of strike outs and a lot of failed RBI opportunities.

Grade: B+


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