It looks like we can finally spend our time harping on other things this year like A low K/BB from John Lackey or Jonathon Papelbon instead of worrying about our short stop production. Marco Scutaro won’t be leading the box score every night or getting top billing in the recap, but you won’t see him as the goat either.
Since 2003 when Nomar Garciaparra totaled 5.4 WAR in his last great season the Red Sox have only had two Short Stops total more than 1.5 WAR. Jed Lowrie in 2007 and Alex Gonzalez in 2006. Some of those were in limited time so they were better than they seemed, but only these two seasons had a real chance to be greater than average in a full season.
So far in 2010 Scutaro has been an average hitter totaling -0.5 batting runs above average. His contact has been better than ever only striking out 10 percent of the time. His 2009 season was solidified though with a 13 percent walk rate where he is only walking 10 percent so far this year.
His glove has been a solid addition this year adding 3.5 runs according to UZR, which is third best on the team behind J.D. Drew and Adrian Beltre. While not flashy his range has been solid and added to his value. His career numbers point to a more average total so expecting more here would be dangerous.
His numbers look much like what should have been expected with maybe a bit more on base skills. Currently his WAR total’s 1.5, which ranks tied for second among all Red Sox short stops since Nomar in any one season. This is only 56 games played and a solid if not spectacular start for Scutaro.
With a 2010 salary of $5 million he has already made his value back with his WAR making him a $5.9 million value in free agent dollars based on what he has done so far.
When 2010 is done Scutaro should be somewhere at or above a final total of 2.0 WAR, which won’t draw rave reviews, but will be a strong value for his salary and let the Red Sox endure an off season without short stop questions for the first time in a long time. This allows Jose Iglesias plenty of time to grow and take his time on arriving as hopefully the next defensive wizard at the short stop spot in Boston.