So if you had to guess who was leading the American League in base on balls who would you pick? If you said Marco Scutaro it means you were cheating and guessing him because his name is in the headline. You would also be wrong (Carlos Pena is,) but Mr. Scutaro is in second place in the category. Now Marco's great year in part to a strong start might not be news to you depending on how much you follow baseball, but 9th best position player in baseball is just not something you expect to hear about Marco Scutaro because afterall, this is the same 33 year, whose been waived by two seperate teams, and traded for the immortals Graham Godfrey and Krisitan (Whose parents must have really hated to name him with a K) Bell.
So how is Marco Scutaro pulling this off? Well part of it can be attributed to the fact that its really only the 2rd year in his career that Marco Scutaro has been the number one guy. Last year Scuataro was shuffled around the diamond a lot because of injuries to Aaron Hill, John McDonald, and Scott Rolen. The only time prior to this year that Scutaro go was the man was way back in 2004 manning 2nd base for the Oakland A's. I personally suscribe to the idea that a player performs at his best when he is the everday guy and I think for the most part the numbers back that up.
Scutaro has been getting the job done with the glove and is 4th among qualified shortstops in UZR. His BABIP is up this year while his LD% is down; his infield fly ball % is WAY DOWN from his career average (Interesting side story, Mauer, Jeter, and Hawpe have yet to hit an infield fly this year, Mike Jacobs has hit 19.)
So can Scutaro keep this season up? When I started writing this I had the conclusion no before going through the numbers, now I am not so sure. After a home run happy start (5 homers in April, 1 since,) Scutaro is now 19% below his career HR/FB% while his FB% is up so he should actually being displaying more power than he has. He has already surpassed his single season walks record but he has already had pretty good discipline and I have a hard time believing in fluky walk rates for powerless middle infielders. His swinging% is down while his contact% is up across the board. His doubles might be a little flukey, his defense might regress a tick or two, but I would no longer be suprised if Marco ends up as a top 20 positional player when the year is said and done.