Friday, August 27, 2004

Player Profile : Marco Scutaro

Marco Scutaro is one of the most underrated players on the A's roster. Acquired by the A's in the offseason from the NY Mets organization, there was a chance that he might not even make the team until Mark Ellis' injury during Spring Training that wiped out his season with the A's for 2004. Into the gap came Marco Scutaro, whom it is safe to say surprised us all with his great defense, his quiet determination, and his timely hitting. During his first full major league season with the A's, Scutaro has quietly shined at 2B in place of Ellis and gained respect and admiration from many of the fans.

Let's take a quick look at his numbers for the season :
Offense : 0.277 BA / 0.302 OBP / 0.388 SLG / 0.690 OPS / 5 HR / 35 RBI

As you can see, offensively Scutaro isn't too impressive. He has a decent BA, but strikes out way too much without walking. His SLG is a miniscule 0.388 and he has only 5 HR to his name. Breaking it down month by month :

March/April : 0.338 BA / 0.358 OBP / 0.429 SLG / 0.787 OPS
May : 0.236 BA / 0.286 OBP / 0.333 SLG / 0.619 OPS
June : 0.245 BA / 0.260 OBP / 0.351 SLG / 0.611 OPS
July : 0.290 BA / 0.310 OBP / 0.420 SLG / 0.730 OPS
August : 0.284 BA / 0.304 OBP / 0.418 SLG / 0.722 OPS

Scutaro had a great March/April, slumped in May and June, and seems to have picked things up again in July and August. The one glaringly obvious problem : his OBP. The boy rarely walks and strikes out way too much. Other than that, he has proven that he can hit for average, but don't expect a lot of HR. One last note about his offense : His BA with runners in scoring position is 0.306 - not too shabby. That would make him 4th highest on the A's - higher than Dye and Chavez.

Still, all in all this would make Scutaro a very average player at best. But the main area with which he has proved himself to the A's and their fans is his defense. In 99 games at 2B, Scutaro sports a fielding percentage of 0.993 with a range factor of 4.98 and only 3 errors. Scutaro is 2nd out of all A.L. second basemen in terms of fielding percentage, 2nd in lowest errors made, and has turned 60 double plays in just 99 games. While Mark Ellis has better range and is better defensively, in my opinion, it is clear from Scutaro's performance this season that he is one of the best defensive second basemen in the A.L. What could have been a glaring hole in our defense at 2B has instead been one of the best spots in our infield.

Scutaro's solid performance in the infield have secured him a place within the A's organization, hopefully for the long term. The A's front office would be hard pressed to find a more suitable back up infielder than Scutaro for when Ellis returns next season.


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