Sunday, December 6, 2009

Scutaro should thrive at Fenway Park

"He hits the ball to all fields, but he's got his power to the pull side, which should play well here at Fenway Park."
-- Theo Epstein on Marco Scutaro

Something funny jumps out when looking at the home-road splits for Marco Scutaro from last season, the best season of his career. Unlike most players -- but like many of the players on his Toronto team -- Scutaro was a significantly better hitter on the road last season than he was at home:

Home: .242 batting/.353 on-base/.389 slugging
Road: .322 batting/.405 on-base/.429 slugging

Blue Jays
Home: .259 batting/.330 on-base/.439 slugging
Road: .273 batting/.335 on-base/.441 slugging

About all the Blue Jays did better at home than on the road was draw walks. The Blue Jays struck out less and hit for more power and scored more runs, period, away from Rogers Centre than they did at Rogers Centre.

The Red Sox aren't necessarily looking for a hitter who can thrive at Fenway Park. As discussed here repeatedly, the Red Sox don't need much help scoring runs at Fenway Park.

But if a guy who already can produce quality at-bats on the road can benefit from the proximity of the Green Monster, well, that's a nice little bonus.

Check out Scutaro's spray chart from home games in 2009...

... and from home games in 2008:

(We have to stick just to home games because's hit charts only give you a stadium-by-stadium look rather than an overall look at an entire season.)

Check out the largest cluster of red letters -- fly outs -- in both charts. When Scutaro doesn't hit the ball hard, he tends to fly out weakly to short right field or center field. When he does hit the ball hard, however, he hits it to left field.

Does that remind you of anyone you know?

That's Dustin Pedroia.

A year ago, Pedroia OPS'ed .903 at home and .736 on the road. Scutaro, on the other hand, OPS'ed .743 at home at Rogers Centre, the ninth-friendliest park to hitters in the American League, but his OPS on the road was almost 100 points higher than that of Pedroia.

The 34-year-old Scutaro certainly might regress from his high-water mark of last season. The benefit of hitting at Fenway Park, though, might offset that regression.

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