San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro put on one of the best pure hitting displays in a postseason series that we have seen in recent memory en route to winning the National League Championship Series MVP award.
But the work has just begun for the longtime veteran as he makes his first appearance in a World Series for the Giants against the Detroit Tigers starting on Wednesday.
Scutaro's performance with the Giants after being acquired midseason got lost in the shuffle because everyone was focused on Buster Posey, and rightfully so. Posey will likely end up winning the NL MVP award.
However, this postseason has been all about Scutaro. In fact, his bat has really helped save what has been an otherwise lackluster Giants offense in October.
In 12 postseason games so far, the Giants have scored 53 runs. Scutaro has been directly involved in 13 run-scoring plays for the Giants (eight runs scored, five RBI). He has also been on base 21 times in 53 plate appearances.
He also hit .500 (14-for-28) with three doubles, two walks and just one strikeout against the Cardinals in the NLCS.
In fact, as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, Scutaro almost never swung and missed in that seven-game series.
Marco Scutaro took 43 swings against Cardinals pitching. He had seven times as many hits (14) as he did swings-and-misses (2).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 23, 2012
In 620 at-bats during the regular season, Scutaro struck out just 49 times. He puts the ball in play, which is all you can ask of someone with a skill set as limited as his.
Considering the performances of almost everyone hitting behind Scutaro, he is the best position player on the field by a mile. With the exception of Pablo Sandoval, no one else in the lineup has an average over .222 this postseason. Posey and Hunter Pence have 17 hits in 91 at-bats so far.
Scutaro is not a flashy player in the box. He is not going to hit a lot of home runs, nor does he have blazing speed that makes fielders force bad throws just to try and get him out.
What Scutaro does better than anyone in the Giants lineup is control the bat. He understands the strike zone and has such great plate coverage that he is going to see a lot of pitches without striking out a ton.
Regardless of whether you buy into Scutaro's second-half performance when he was traded to the Giants—for the record, he hit .362/.385/.473 in 61 games after the deal—none of that matters right now.
Let someone overpay for Scutaro in the offseason. Right now, the Giants are more than happy to get better production than they could have ever dreamed of when they made the deal with the Rockies, who also gave the Giants cash to make the deal happen.
Scutaro has been the lynchpin to the Giants offense so far this postseason, and he will have to do it again in the World Series against a Tigers rotation that is loaded with strikeout pitchers.