I don’t normally like to pat myself on the back, but there are just some times when one has to take the time out of the day to do so. A little over a month ago, I wrote a piece about how Marco Scutaro was the single most important player traded during the season.
Is there anyone out there that in any way doubts that notion?
Scutaro went out and proved that point for me, first during the stretch run of the regular season and then again in the National League Championship series, earning the NLCS Most Valuable Player award along the way.
In just 61 games with the San Francisco Giants, Scutaro revitalized his season, and the Giants’ for that matter, by registering a .859 OPS, a OPS+ of 145, scoring 40 runs, driving in 44 of his own, and accruing a WAR of 2.1 (baseball-reference). His performance to close out the regular season replaced nearly every benefit lost when Melky Cabrera was suspended.
However, while his performance down the stretch helped galvanize the Giants, it was Scutaro’s rise during the postseason that has vaulted him to the pantheon of playoff heroes. In fact, Scutaro’s batting line during the NLCS against St. Louis reminds one of another second baseman that took it to the Cardinals during a 7-game series. Let’s compare the two:
- Marco Scutaro – 2012
- Mark Lemke – 1996
The comparison is uncanny when you think about it.
Forget the fact that both players victimized the St. Louis Cardinals for a moment or that they both did so in a 7-game series. In 1996, it seemed like Lemke was on base after nearly every at-bat, something I’m pretty sure Mike Matheny can say similarly about Marco Scutaro, with both men posting On-Base Percentages well above .500 in their respective series. Both men were nearly impossible to strike-out, with Scutaro only being K’d once in 2012 and Lemke twice in 1996. Both men accumulated 17 total bases in a 7-game series. The only major item that separates the two is the fact that Scutaro took home the NLCS MVP for his troubles, while Lemke’s performance ended up playing second fiddle to a monumental series by Javy Lopez.
Oh, and both men stand just 5 foot 10 inches tall. Like I said, uncanny.
Of course, Lemke’s Braves lost the 1996 World Series to the New York Yankees. When the 2012 World Series begins on Wednesday night, Scutaro’s Giants will have a similarly difficult assignment in the Detroit Tigers.
Marco Scutaro is hoping that this is one place he can separate himself from the former Brave, not wanting to follow the “Lemmer” down that path.