If you take a look at Shane Victorino’s splits for 2012, the first thing that’s sure to grab you is that he’s hitting a miserable 224/287/302 against right-handed pitching. There’s more, though. Victorino’s numbers away from home are about as bad as his numbers against righties if not worse. For the year, Victorino is hitting 218/281/351 on the road.
In 2012, his numbers against lefties are better than they’ve been over his career and his numbers at home are pretty similar:
Victorino only has 87 plate appearances against lefties so far in 2012, but in those 87 he has delivered hits, walks and extra-bases hits all way above his career levels. Against both righties and lefties at home, he’s walked at a better rate than his career marks and gotten hits at about the same rate, but with less power.
Against righties and away from home, it’s been a different story. And that’s a problem given that about three quarters of his plate appearances (76.4%) have come against righties and more than half (52.3%) have come on the road.
Victorino’s career numbers aren’t very good either on the road or against right-handed pitching, but both splits are way down in 2012. Over his career he’s been a lot better against lefties than righties and that trend has been magnified dramatically in 2012. His road and home splits are about the same in terms of hit rate and power, but he has walked more in his home games over his career, about 8.9% of his home plate appearances and about 6.7% of his plate appearances away from home.
Victorino has has good years against right-handed pitching, but not for a while. His first solid year against righties came in 2006 (292/345/409) and he followed that up with a 2007 in which he hit 276/339/394 against righties. 2008 was probably his best year against righties as he on-based .355 against them, putting up a 298/355/407 line. His hits and walks were off in a little against them in ’09, but he hit for more power: 283/347/440. After 2009 his numbers against righties took a huge dive. In 2010 he on-based .305 against them. 2011 he came back a little, on-basing just .335 but posting a career-high .455 slugging percentage against them. 2012 has been the worst year so far.
Here’s how his career numbers against right-handed pitching look broken up into groups of pre-2006, 2007-2009 and 2010-2012:
If you compare the 2010-2012 numbers to the 2006-2009, Victorino has been more likely to get a walk against a righty since 2010 (8.0% of plate appearances vs righties since 2010 compared to 7.3% ’06-’09). He’s also hit for more power (isolated power of .147 since 2010 compared to .127 ’06 to ’09). His numbers are way, way down overall, though, and much of that is due to the fact that he has hit so many fewer singles. From 2006 through 2009, Victorino singled in about 26.0% of his plate appearances against right-handed pitching. Since the start of 2010 he has singled in about 22.4% of them.
Update: I noted in the comments section that Victorino’s batting average for balls in play for ’06 to ’09 was .312. From 2010 to 2012 it is .276. That could be bad luck or could be not as fast as he used to be. Or some of both. Either way, it seems important if his recent downturn is not about walking or hitting for power but getting as many singles.