Some players get little respect. You know, they are the “glue” type players that you roster in the middle to late rounds that end up filling up the stat sheet rather nicely by the time that October rolls around even if no one really batted an eye when you called out their name at the draft table. One of those guys is Marco Scutaro. He’s never someone you target, and most of the time when you call out his name it’s merely because there really aren’t any better options out there, but there are certainly worse guys to target late as a middle infield option than the Rockies new second baseman.
Let me begin right where I just left off. Scutaro, who played just two games at second last season but has played regularly there during his big league career, will be the Rockies’ starting second baseman in 2012 (thanks Troy Tulowitzki). This is great news for Scutaro because he will be able to add second base to his shortstop qualification. When you’re thinking about grabbing a guy in the later rounds having positional flexibility like this is just another level of added value. You don’t have to take two players as a backup to your second baseman and shortstop, you can simply add a guy Scutaro to give you some depth.
Second, one of the keys with Scutaro is that he will be the Rockies new second baseman. Coors Field doesn’t play like it once did now that they humidor the hell out of the baseballs up there (some conspiracy theorists still maintain that the Rockies use a different set of “dead” baseball’s when the visiting team is at-bat), but at the same time it’s still a great place for a hitter to call home. Scutaro isn’t a home run hitter, his two best seasons are 11 and 12, but that misses the point. Scutaro is a strong extra base hitter who has rapped out 30 doubles in three seasons in his career while averaging 33 the past three years. The last three years Coors has been the best park in the NL for doubles, 22 percent greater than the league average park according to Park Indices. Scutaro should be hitting plenty of two baggers this season.
Scutaro has hit .270 for his career, an over his last three years he has hit at least .275 each time. He’s a good bet to keep that up in 2012, not just because of his home yard, but because of his approach. For his career Scutaro owns a 0.80 BB/K mark, well above the big league average of about 0.50, and the last time that number dipped below 0.75 for Scutaro was when George Bush Jr. was president (2004). He won’t damage your teams’ batting average and he has at least an even shot of actually helping in the category.
Since he became an every day player in 2008, Scutaro has been a solid performer. Even including his effort last season in which he was only able to accrue 395 at-bats, here is what an average 5×5 season has looked like for Scutaro since 2008: .280-9-58-82-8. Again, that’s nothing special, but those are replacement level stuff that you can get on the cheap at the draft table. Would you rather roster guys like Zack Cozart or Jason Bartlett late? I know I wouldn’t.
Scutaro doesn’t do anything that stands out, but I wouldn’t be drafting Scutaro to win me a league. I’d be drafting Scutaro as a player who, given 500 at-bats, is going to be a great return on my investment. He’ll qualify at both middle infield spots, likely hit at least .280, score a bunch of runs, and knock in enough to be worthy of strong consideration in deep mixed leagues as a middle infielder. Don’t forget about the little fella when your draft moves into the 20′s – Scutaro is someone you can fill your roster out with on the cheap who will end up providing you more than passable numbers if he can stay healthy.
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By Ray Flowers