Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Scutaro Small Sample Scramble

There was a lot of crying over Scutaro in recent weeks until he had his nice recent hot streak, remniscent of when he was with the Giants in 2012.  What did the numbers say?
ogc thoughts

Of course, everything was extremely small samples involved, what I'm getting into, but still, the overall thing is that his zone discipline never really faltered all through the 2013 season so far.  .

In his first six games, he was 2 for 23, .087/.160/.087/.247, with 4 K's (.105 BABIP).  That's a 83% contact rate, OK, right in range for him for a small set of games.

Then in his next seven games, he was 12 for 29, .414/.419/.517/.937, with 2 K's (.429 BABIP).  That's a 93% contact rate, very good and within his talent.

Overall, that's .269/.304/.327/.630 (.298 BABIP; career .297; three year .308), with 6 K's in 52 AB, a 88% contact rate, still good.  But that batting line got the general fan all worried.

Then he went on a 10 game down spiral that got the fans really riled up.  He was 6 for 41, .146/.205/.195/.400 (.158 BABIP), more strikeouts than usual for him, but a still good 85% contact rate, indicating that sabermetically, he was suffering from some bad luck here.

Of course, we Giants fans knew better, we knew that Scoots was dealing with back issues.  Clearly, his batting discipline was still good, as he was not striking out overly poorly at any point of the bad streaks, he just was not doing anything much when making contact, which is where his back issues come up.

Sidenote, interesting enough, according to Schulman's Splash blog for the Chronicle, Scutaro's back problems are related to one of his legs being an half inch shorter than the other (apparently Franchez also had that issue because of his clubfoot when he was a child and the surgeries done to repair that).  He had been wearing orthotics to even things up, but never realized that he was THAT much shorter.  A shoe company supplied him a shoe with a custom rubber insole that makes up for the difference and that has been a huge difference for him, helping his back heal, or more importantly, not get injured again.   Makes me wonder if that is why his numbers were never that great previously despite his great batting discipline, he would be going along great then tweak his back because of this.

In the 8 games since he started hitting again, he is 15 for 31, .484/.543/.645/1.189 (.500 BABIP) with only 1 strikeout, a great 97% contact rate.  And his contact rate for the season is 92%. 

So, all through his ups and downs, Scutaro has shown the great batting discipline at the plate that he has always shown, not striking out much, plus making contact with the vast majority of the pitches he swings at.  He has just not been making as good a contact during the low points of this season, and we know from news accounts that he's been suffering from back issues since spring training.  Hopefully these custom fit shoes does the trick for him and his back isn't chronically affecting him going forward. 

Typically, a hitter with a good batting eye (BB/K ratio above 1.0) is a .280-290 hitter.  Just below that ratio, most are .270-.280 hitters, on average.  Roughly 40% of the hitters in Scutaro's area hit over .300, and only 10-12% hit under .250.  And hitters with contact rates over 90% typically hit in the .280-.290 range.  And the combination of his walk rate and contact rate, hitters hit around .280 or so.  His career is .275 BA, and he has hit .293 in his last three seasons, all within range of what to expect.  

So given that his contact rate has been pretty good all season, the worry was overblown that he had lost it, but given his back issues, it was valid to wonder if at his age, he might be prone to such injuries more often.  But given that has been explained away by the leg unevenness, it looks like we can expect a good season out of Scutaro in 2013 in the 2-spot for us, barring any other injury (and he's only been on the DL once in the past 5 seasons, in 2011 for an oblique injury), based on how well he's been handling his strike zone discipline and how well he hits when his back isn't bothering him.  Might even see an uptick in production. 

1 comment:

  1. Your usual splendid analysis of Scutaro's hitting, but what worries me is his fielding, which has been uncharacteristically erratic. I can see this happening as a result of back pain and stiffness, or even of his adjusting to the new height relationships in his stride. I'm hoping that the consistency you've shown as to his plate performance is evidence that his falloff in the field isn't a consequence of age.

    ReplyDelete

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