The world found out what anyone who has been watching baseball for the past half decade could tell you – Marco Scutaro is a “professional hitter” and a very good baseball player. However, what Scutaro did in the playoffs may have pushed his fantasy outlook up to the point that he will be a disappointing add in 2013.
Marco Scutaro played 118 games at second base, 27 at shortstop, and 15 at third base in 2012. That kind of flexibility does nothing but add to his value, substantially in some formats.
Scutaro hit .306 in 2012. Only one second basemen hit higher (Robinson Cano at .313). Not just that, Marco was one of the best hitters in baseball after the Giants added him in a deal with the Rockies as he hit an amazing .362 over 61 games (read that again). He also knocked in a rather remarkable 44 runs while scoring 40 times with the G-Men as well. That’s a 150 game pace of 108 RBIs and 98 runs scored.
Scutaro then starred for the Giants hitting .328 in the playoffs including one of the hottest runs you will ever see in the NLCS when he had 14 hits in 28 at-bats (that’s .500 folks) to become a national star.
Given all of that, how can I say he will be over-drafted in 2013?
People will remember his insane week during the NLCS, the big hits throughout the playoffs, and think that Scutaro is bound for greatness. They will forget that he is 37 years old. They will forget that he has no power (he’s averaged nine homers in his eight full big league seasons). They’ll forget that he isn’t a base stealer (he did swipe nine bags in 2012 but he has just 18 steals the past three years and just one season in his career in double-digits). People will forget that the 37 year old middle infielder is coming off a career best batting average and RBI total.
Obviously it’s not all doom and gloom, and there is little reason to think that Scutaro will just fail to produce in 2013. He will produce a solid batting average thanks in part to his strong BB/K ratio (0.75 or better in 8-straight seasons) and be a nice piece in league specific setups given his obvious positional versatility. But the fact of the matter is that Scutaro doesn’t do anything that stands out in the fantasy game. Though he’s hit .299 and .306 the past two years, he owns a career .276 batting average and from 2004-2010 he never hit better than .282. He’s also coming off a career best .319 BABIP – he’s been remarkably consistent with a mark between .290 and .312 each of the previous four seasons – thanks to his insanely high 25.8 percent line drive rate. Given that he has never been better than 22.6 before in the line drive category, and that he owns a career rate of 20.7, it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll see some regression here.
So let’s say he hits .285 in 2013. In this day and age that’s a strong mark from a middle infielder. However, let’s also say he hit nine homers with six steals (his average the past six years). A .285 hitting second sacker with nine homers and six steals is NOT someone you would be comfortable starting in a 12 team mixed league, is it? I certainly wouldn’t feel good about that.
So what is Scutaro? He’s one of those players who is more valuable in real life than in fantasy. His multi position eligibility makes him a solid play in a league specific setup where his lack of pop and speed just won’t matter as much. In mixed leagues he’s nothing more than a middle infield option because of his lack of elite skills in any category. Scutaro isn’t a bad 24th round draft pick, but given that he’ll possibly go 10 rounds earlier than that in some leagues you would be wise to pass on his services in 2013.
By Ray Flowers