Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Crystal Ball '09: Luke Scott

Luke Scott came over from Houston last offseason as one of the five players Baltimore received in return for Miguel Tejada. In terms of Win Shares, Scott nearly equalled Tejada's output in 2008. (see the Trade Monitor to your left...)

Scott, by default, was the best left fielder the Orioles have had since B.J. Surhoff hung up his cleats and filled a gaping hole that the Orioles has struggled with for years. (A sign of The Warehouse's ineptitude before Andy MacPhail hard is it, really, to find an average leftfielder?)

But his struggles hitting lefties have continued. Scott hit .215/.300/.402 against lefties in 120 plate appearances in 2008. That's a big problem but a problem that may have been solved with some offseason acquisitions.

Dave Trembley has been averse to playing straight platoons, (He kept giving Jay Payton ABs against righthanded pitching when it was painfully obvious that the ONLY thing he could still do was hit against lefties...) but the addition of Ty Wigginton and, to a lesser extent, Ryan Freel could go a long way to mask Scott's weaknesses and cobble together an adequate DH that is greater than the sum of its parts. Imagine this guy at DH. Let's call him Tyanuke Freeginscott...:

Scott 415 .269 .346 .492 .838
Wiggy 200 .320 .380 .510 .890
Freel 50 .331 .360 .435 .795

Total 665 .289 .357 .493 .850

That's not bad production from what would primarily be DH at-bats.

Yes, it's tough to platoon when you only carry three players on your bench but the guys they have now offer enough versatility to keep Scott out of situations where he will most likely fail. And he can be brought off the bench at key moments to face righthanded relievers.

And Scott's defensive woes have been overblown. He's not pretty doing it but he gets to most balls hit his way and can still help spell Felix Pie (who has been all but given the starting job) in left.

IF Trembley platoons him correctly, look for a .280/.350/.500 line over 400 ABs.

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