If you’ve been watching the playoffs (if you’re not, what the hell?) you’ve probably been hearing alot about Marco Scutaro. He didn’t do much of anything in the NLDS against the Reds but has been seemingly impossible to retire in the championship series, hitting .481 as I write this.
Of course, we all know he isn’t quite the Barry Bonds level hitter he’s shown against the Cardinals, but he’s been a steady fantasy contributor for quite some time and that didn’t change in 2012.
His final totals — .306 AVG/7 HR/87 R/74 RBI/9 SB — were good enough for 10th in our end of season second base rankings. Solid all around, but digging deeper into the numbers shows of just how strange Scutaro’s season was. He began his season playing shortstop with the Rockies and you expect any player to get a boost from the thin mountain air of Coors Field. Scutaro, 36, did just that, posting an .812 OPS in 54 home games. It was hitting on the road he had to worry about.
In 95 total games in a Rockies uniform he managed to hit just .271/.324/.361(!). In late July he was traded to San Francisco, and his season took off. Playing 33 games in AT&T Park, one of the best pitchers’ parks in the game, and switching to second base, Scutaro hit .352/.399/.488 and managed a. 859 overall OPS with the Giants. He hit better in San Francisco than Colorado. Let that sink in for a second.
Of his 74 runs batted in an amazing 24 came in September/October, tied for the seventh most in baseball. It helped that the Giants offense turned it on in the last month and scored the third most runs in National League over that time.
Scutaro’s biggest strength is his ability to put balls into play. He lead the league in O-Contact% (89%), Z-Contact% (98%) and overall Contact% (95.3%). On a related note, he also had the lowest swinging strike percentage (1.8%). When you don’t have a lot of power being able to put the ball in play is an important skill and Scutaro is king.
It was a fine season, but what does it mean for 2013? Well, probably not much. For one, we don’t know where he’s going to be playing. He’s a free agent at season’s end and while it’s very possible the Giants bring him back, some other team is likely to throw money at a second basemen who hit .306. He’s also not going to hit as well as he did the final month of the season. The .400 BABIP and .402 average are going to be tough to maintain. It happened and we can’t take it away from him but I’m afraid some people’s opinions may be skewed by it. Without that amazing month he ends up lower than 10th in our rankings.
He’s a starter in most mixed leagues thanks to his eligibility at shortstop, but he’s going to be 37 come October 30th and got a little lucky last season. I’d rather take my chances with Jose Altuve, Neil Walker or gamble on a bounce back from Rickie Weeks.
Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.