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A look at the future of Shane Victorino

Dec 4, 2012, 12:05 AM EDT

Shane Victorino Getty Images

Earlier today I tried taking a gander at Angel Pagan‘s fate by looking at what some similar players did after age 31. I created a list of players who had OPSs between .720-.780, no more than 50 homers and at least 50 steals from ages 28-30 (Pagan had a .749 OPS, 26 HR and 98 SB during those three seasons).

Not making that list of comparables was Shane Victorino. He was a bit too good from 2009-11, his age 28-30 seasons, finishing those years with an .800 OPS. However, after a down 2012 season, Victorino would have fit perfectly in the Pagan range there for his age 29-31 seasons. Victorino has a .766 OPS, 46 homers and 92 steals the last three years.

So, I’ve decided to create a similar list for Victorino. This one won’t be quite as long as Pagan’s. Besides Victorino, there are nine center fielders in history to post OPSs from .730-.800, hit between 20-60 homers and steal at least 50 bases from 29-31. One was Alex Rios, who happens to be the same age as Victorino, so he doesn’t tell us anything. Here’s what the other eight did from 32 onward:

Cesar Cedeno: .263/.320/.401, 99 OPS+ in 1,086 AB
Willie Davis: .283/.312/.422, 106 OPS+ in 2,893 AB
Marquis Grissom: .266/.303/.422, 87 OPS+ in 3,275 AB
Stan Javier: .284/.362/.384, 99 OPS+ in 2,151 AB
Ron LeFlore: .263/.326/.353, 92+ OPS in 1,192 AB
Mickey Rivers: .287/.314/.366, 93 OPS+ in 1,089 AB
Devon White: .273/.333/.432, 100 OPS+ in 2,829 AB
Mookie Wilson: .264/.299/.364, 87 OPS+ in 1,694 AB

So, of the eight players most similar to Victorino, Davis, Javier and White lasted as quality regulars after 32. Javier was actually rarely a regular before turning 30, but he ended up being a much better old player than a young one. LaFlore might have lasted as a regular too if not for his cocaine problem.

Personally, I’d be too scared off by Victorino’s decline in 2012 to give him a three-year deal. My suspicion is that he could well be a fourth outfielder come 2014 or ’15. Still, it’s worth noting players like him haven’t aged that badly. Speed oftentimes does age better than power, which is one of the factors in Victorino’s favor.

  1. weaselpuppy - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    Speed doesn’t age well at all past 30….

    Cedeno- age 29?-48 steals. Never again stole 20 (this guy is a interesting comp for Mike Trout BTW)
    Davis-age 30? 38 steals. Averaged 21 the next 5 full seasons
    Javier-Never a volume base stealer did have his best 2 years at age 30 and 31, but back to 17ish a yr afterwards
    LeFlore- Tough to use hum as a comp. He was my favorite guy growing up…between prison as a young man (scouted by the Tigers while in the State Pen) and coke, he wasn’t built to last, but he was sure fun to watch when he was rollin…
    Rivers- 50 career SB after age 29
    Mookie- 46 sb age 28, never did better than 25 again. (also Javier, Mookie and Rivers were slap hitters, the guys above them had a little bit of pop…)
    Devo- 34 Sb age 30, broke 20, barely, twice the rest of his career

    really, of that set, only Grissom maintained his SB ability late into his career…when he also curiously posted the #1,2 and 4th best SLG% of his career in his mid-late 30s… I was looking at this last yr too in regards to how truly awful the Crawford signing was…if you hit for any kind of pop and stole 40-50+ bases early in your career in the last 50 years, unless your name was Rickey Henderson, you pretty much lost your speed dimension by age 31 (even Willie Mays did)…cautionary tale on Reyes as well….little waterbug guys like Willie Wilson could keep that speed through mid30s, but almost no one that had any bulk in their size/pop in their bat

  2. scotttheskeptic - Dec 4, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    I watched him for many years – the next time he hits a cutoff man may be his first. Seriously, his lack of baseball acumen revealed itself as his numbers at the plate declined.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I wouldn’t write him off just yet, I think the little I-Talian has a few years left before his career sleeps with the fishes.

    • bradmoss1 - Dec 4, 2012 at 10:59 AM


      • dexterismyhero - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Flyin Hawaiian…..

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