December 4, 2009

Fangraphs on Scutaro

In mid-November, Fangraphs' Dave Allen had an interesting write-up on our new shortstop's tendencies at the plate:
The increase in offensive value [in 2009] came, largely, from an increased walk rate, 13.6%, a career high for him and in the top 25 of all of baseball. He coupled that with a low strikeout rate; he was one of the few players in the game to have more walks than strikeouts. This led to a jump in his OBP, and thus offensive value. ...

Scutaro is due for some serious regression to his offensive level, as is anyone who posts 2400 PAs at wOBA of .311 and then 680 at .354. But I think that, because the change is supported by the per-pitch level data, which is not immune from regression itself, we can temper that regression somewhat.

Scutaro can play average defense at second or slightly below average at short, is 34 coming off far and away a career year at the plate, and is a type A free agent. It will be interesting to see what kind of deal he gets.
Example
SoSHer Worst Trade Evah:
Guys with big walk spikes in their mid 30s are pretty worrying to me. There are lots of examples where that walk spike is a sign the hitter is laying off things he used to be able to hit but can't anymore. Pretty soon the pitchers figure it out and bust after him, and then it's down hill.
Trlicek's Whip:
Scutaro's only really played two full, full-time seasons, and those have just come to pass in 2008 and 2009 - two seasons where skills that he's demonstrated in part-time status have sustained out over a longer stretch. ...

Scutoro's contact rate is consistent, and his walk rate has climbed in a way that suggests he's learned or earned it. Scutaro isn't an aging power hitter masking his decline by swinging away or taking vast doses of walks (Giambi etc). He's also not a speed merchant who's overcompensating for creaking legs with a better eye at the plate. He's not a black hole with the bat, he's got range and skills in the field, his position flexibility is a Lowrie-hedge ... Even if 2010 is a regression across the board, merely returning to replacement level at the SS position would be an improvement ...
Example
It's hard to get excited over this signing, but considering (a) what we've recently had at short and (b) what is available this winter, we could have been stuck with far worse. Scutaro can also play second and third and seems more than adequate in the field. And even with a regression from last season, his bat should be a massive improvement; the last regular Sox SS to have an OPS+ even a stone's throw from league-average was Nomar -- in 2003.

Ian Browne has two good articles: a good recap of our shortstop woes (20 (!) different players since 2004 (anyone remember Alejandro Machado?)) and a piece on Cuban defector Jose Iglesias, with tons of encouraging quotes from former shortstop and current Sox minor league infield instructor Gary DiSarcina.

10 comments:

redsock said...

With the clear plan of going from Scutaro to Iglesias at SS, this could also leave Lowrie available to package in a trade -- though that would leave us with ? as our utility guy.

tim said...

This is annoying. Oh well.

Philip said...

This signing depresses me. I foretell that we will look back on this as an unequivocally bad description.

9casey said...

redsock said...
With the clear plan of going from Scutaro to Iglesias at SS, this could also leave Lowrie available to package in a trade



What do you think he would bring back?

bwsmith25 said...

this could also leave Lowrie available to package in a trade

Very true. For all we know, Theo has a deal under the table for Adrian Gonzalez that includes Lowrie.

Okay, maybe that's just my hopeful side talking, but still -- anything is possible.

redsock said...

What do you think he would bring back?

By himself, not much. He'd have to be in a package to a team that thinks he can rebound from his injuries.

Having him as the infield sub would be good, though, since he and Scutaro can both play SS and 3B. (Am I blanking on anyone else we could use off the bench?)

Zenslinger said...

Thanks for culling nice bits from SoSH. There's someone on there saying Lowrie has reasonable trade value. I am sentimental about him a little and would love to see him beat Scutaro out of a job.

I am not sure if we still need a utility IF or not. Kotchman backs up 1B but I'm not sure who backs up Pedroia now. Can either Scutaro can play 2B in a pinch?

redsock said...

He's played 2B, yes.

Relying on Jed being healthy in February is insane, obviously. If he's hot, great. Tito can mix and match with Yook, Scutaro, Lowrie, Dr. D and Flo.

9casey said...

If Lowrie is healty you would think he would start the season in Pawtucket..

We also have V-mart who plays first.

redsock said...

Rosenthal: Mariners on verge of signing Figgins. Two sides very close. Four years, $36 million range.