As we continue with our series of Baseball Hall of Fame ballot previews while the MLB season is on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are quickly running out of candidates worth talking about in the 2021 class. Today, we look at Shane Victorino, who won four Gold Glove Awards while being named an All-Star twice and winning two World Series in his career, one with the Phillies and one with the Red Sox.
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Why is he on the ballot?
Victorino won four Gold Glove Awards, including three in a row in center field from 2008-’10. His Phillies won the World Series the first of those years, and he was named an All-Star in 2009 and 2011. From 2008-2011, Victorino hit .281 and averaged 31 doubles, 12 triples, 15 home runs and 29 stolen bases. He produced 30.9 WAR from 2006-’13. His teams went to the playoffs six times in his career, and went 9-4 in playoff series as he produced 1.17 career win probability added in the playoffs.
Why won’t he make the Hall of Fame?
Victorino was only an everyday player for eight years, from 2006-2013. He appeared in two seasons before and after that stretch, but totaled just 158 games and 439 plate appearances in those four years. He produced 30.9 WAR in his eight-year peak but just 31.5 WAR in his career. He wasn’t much of a hitter by Hall of Fame standards, with his OPS+ topping 120 just one season (2011). He’s outside the top 600 in all four Jamesian HOF metrics. JAWS has him as the 74th-best center fielder in MLB history, with 19 in the Hall of Fame.
If Victorino could have kept hitting at a league-average rate into his 30s, he had proven he could be a great outfielder in center or the corner, winning a Gold Glove playing primarily right field in 2013, but his bat didn’t recover after a series of injuries limited him to 30 games played in 2014. He was done in the MLB before his 35th birthday, not a good recipe to make the Hall of Fame.
Victorino was taken twice in the Rule 5 draft, which generally is full of borderline MLB players, not multiple-time All-Stars. The Dodgers left him unprotected and the Padres selected him in December of 2002, debuting in San Diego in 2003 before being returned as the Padres decided he wasn’t ready for an MLB spot. He never made the majors with the Dodgers, being selected by the Phillies in the 2004 Rule 5 draft, sticking in Philadelphia through the 2005 season and taking off in 2006. His career is a story of perseverance as several times he was essentially told he wasn’t good enough for the MLB before blossoming into a star with the Phillies. He was a great player, but ultimately not worthy of Hall of Fame induction.
Up next: Grady Sizemore.
Stats and info courtesy of Baseball-Reference.