Treat Shane Like Cole?

As I mentioned in my recent post on Cole Hamels, fans were all too eager to proffer theories on his poor performances in 2009:

There was something askew with him the whole season. He spent too much time in the off-season posing for magazines, appearing on television shows and lending his persona in advertisements. He got cocky; he wasn’t focused; he was immature; he lacked the mental strength to go through another 162-game grind after reaching the pinnacle of baseball. Right?

Of course, as we found out, Cole’s poor 2009 was mostly due to poor luck on batted balls in play (BABIP), but the reputation still remains. Some fans and media types were suggesting Cole should have been packaged in a trade that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia and kept Cliff Lee.

Another Phillie has been making the rounds this off-season with his newfound fame: Shane Victorino.

The Fightins has tracked him:

Clearly, baseball isn’t the only thing on Shane Victorino’s mind. He’s been married, been to J-Roll’s wedding, gone to UFC and NBA games, and attended the Grammy Awards. This has “ugly 2010 season” written all over it!

If Shane does have a bad 2010 season, will the fans and media concoct crackpot theories explaining his freefall? Will we admonish him for having a life outside of baseball?

Will he take creepy pictures with his wife?

Of course, Shane is more likely to stay in line with his previous achievements as he improved his walk rate and cut his strikeout rate in ’09 while maintaining a steady BABIP, ISO, and wOBA. None of his plate discipline splits indicate a cause for concern. But in the event he does go into a tailspin and the crackpot theories start a-swirlin’, I’ll be right here linking back to this post.

It’s the cardinal rule in baseball: performances are inversely correlated with off-the-field fun. As off-the-field fun rises, baseball performance decreases. I think I read that somewhere in The Book.

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2 comments

  1. Rich

    February 09, 2010 06:27 AM

    For me, Shane is an above average player. He covers center field well, and he isn’t as dangerous as Aaron Rowand is. That being said, he fits in fine with this bunch of players. Given another circumstance with another team and I am not so sure how he would fit in.

    His temper is one that is legendary. At times, he is all smiles on the field, the next minute he could look like he is going to want to karate chop someone.

    I am sort of with the mindset that a centerfielder would hit with more power, but in Shane’s case on the Phillies he fits into the mix well. Will Cole have a better year in 2010, that remains to be seen. He wears his heart on his sleeve and the comment he made where he said he couldn’t wait to go home during the World Series was one for the books. There are certain things you don’t say, and that was one of them.

    We’ll see how these two players fare on the field soon, and that’s the great news.

  2. Mike

    February 11, 2010 12:17 PM

    When you say “Of course, as we found out, Cole’s poor 2009 was mostly due to poor luck on batted balls in play (BABIP)” you open yourself up to the anti-metrical criticism that you don’t actually watch the games.

    I’ve learned from your analysis that Cole’s troubles weren’t as bad as they seemed last year. But I also SAW him lose his not-so-measurable composure at critical junctures of otherwise competitive outings where he suddenly gave up big innings.

    It seems more reasonable to say that Cole got into difficult situations last year as a result of some bad luck, but that he also displayed some lack of maturity that contributed to those situations snowballing on him.

    I am confident that Cole will have a bounce-back year in 2010, both because I expect his BABIP to normalize and also because I expect him to approach this season with more maturity, renewed determination and a chip on his shoulder. These things “count” too.

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