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Entries in Marco Scutaro (5)


Analyzing NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro

It has been a joy to watch Marco Scutaro since he joined the Giants on July 28. From that date through the postseason, Scutaro has hit .362, had an OBP of .386, slugged .473, giving him an OPS of .859.

Scutaro, who has become the inspirational leader of the Giants, is an outstanding end of season batter. Here are his career month-by-month regular season averages:

  • April: .257
  • May: .264
  • June: .279
  • July: .275
  • August: .273
  • Sept/Oct: .298

In the last month of the season: 

  • In 2010, Scutaro hit .293
  • In 2011, when his Boston teammates were drinking beer, eating chicken, and collapsing, Scutaro hit .387
  • This season when the Giants were battling for a postseason slot, Scutaro only hit .412. 

Here are Scutaro's last month of the 2012 season hits

25 of his 45 hits were to centerfield and right field.

Scutaro struggled during the LDS against the Reds hitting only .150 going 3-for-20.

Scutaro saw 96 pitches

Within the red areas above are Scutaro's three hits. Nearly half of the pitches Scutaro saw (42) were fastballs and he was 1-for-10 against them.

So, why were the Reds successful while the Cards were not?

Start by looking at Scutaro's outs in the LDS

Here are the results of these pitches (outs only): 

  • Game 1 - Two ground outs to short, one to second, and one liner to left
  • Game 2 - A liner and a fly to center, a ground out to the mound and to short
  • Game 3 - Ground outs to first and second and fly to center
  • Game 4 - Fly out and line out to right, sac bunt to the mound and ground out to second
  • Game 5 - Two grounders to second and a liner to center 

First thing you want notice here is the adjustment Scutaro made as the series progressed in attempting to go to the opposite field. Starting in Game 3, all of his outs were to the right side of infield or to center. Proving that he's no Derek Jeter, Scutaro attempted unsuccessfully to go to right six times on pitches that were on inner half of the plate (seven if you count the sac bunt).

Overall, Scutaro saw 38 pitches on the inner half. The Reds also worked him high, throwing 53 pitches in the upper half. Scutaro saw 58 pitches on the outer half of the plate (two resulted in hits - one to right one to left) with only 26 in the strike zone.

Here are Scutaro's NLCS MVP pitches

Scutaro saw 100 pitches

Against the Cards, Scutaro saw 39 pitches on the inner half resulting in four pulled singles and two pulled doubles and six outs, four to the left of second.

However in the NLCS, Scutaro saw 61 pitches on the outer half of the plate, seven resulted in hits all to center or to right. Only 33 pitches, on the outer half of the plate were out of the strike zone.

If this pattern continues, and the Tigers are going to quiet Marco Scutaro, look for them to be working him on the inner halfof the plate and up in the zone. If you are planning on working on the outer half, you have to be enough out of the zone that Scutaro is chasing and can't drive the ball to the opposite field.



Two-Strike Survivors

When a hitter gets two strikes against him, odds are he's toast. The league average Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) with two strikes is just .236, compared to .314 overall in 2011. Put another way, a hitter turns into a Tsuyoshi Nishioka clone when in the pitcher's clutches. But some batters have managed to wiggle out of those two-strike situations pretty often. Here's a look at the 10 batters with the highest wOBAs in two-strike counts:

1. Mike Napoli, .386

2. David Ortiz, .367

3. Jose Bautista, .348

4. Miguel Cabrera, .348

5. Jacoby Ellsbury, .339

6. Marco Scutaro, .337

7. Prince Fielder, .336

8. Carlos Lee, .335

9. Troy Tulowitzki, .322

10. Curtis Granderson, .322

 Not surprisingly, the best two-strike hitters list includes some of the best hitters in the game overall. Granderson has gone deep a major league-leading 20 times in two-strike counts this season. Bautista (14), Ortiz (13), Napoli (11), Cabrera (11) and Ellsbury (10) have also hit double-digit homers with two strikes.

If there's a common thread among these guys, it's that they do a better job than most of not chasing pitches off the plate. When hitters have less than two strikes against them, they're fairly selective:

League average swing rate by pitch location with less than two strikes

Batters swing about 39 percent of the time overall with less than two strikes, chasing 22 percent of pitches out of the zone. With two strikes, however....


League average swing rate by pitch location with two strikes

..Hitters swing 61 percent of the time, including 39 percent of the time on out-of-zone pitches. But, with the exception of Fielder, our two-strike survivors have chase rates below the league average:

Napoli: 38% chase rate with 2 strikes

Ortiz: 37%

Bautista: 35%

Cabrera: 36%

Ellsbury: 25%

Scutaro: 38%

Fielder: 48%

Lee: 37%

Tulowitzki: 34%

Granderson: 40%

As is the case in other counts, it appears that one of the keys to success with two strikes is learning to lay off pitches at the eyes and the ankles. Or, be Prince Fielder. Either will work just fine.

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