Tuesday, November 1, 2016

1991-2016 All-Underrated Team: Shortstop

I have been watching baseball for 26 years now. In that time, I have been obsessed with under-the-radar players. These are my picks for an All-Underrated Team. I have picked one player for each position and their best season.
While the Red Sox were absolutely collapsing down the stretch, one player was quietly having one of a very good season, and no I am not referring to Jacoby Ellsbury.  Marco Scutaro's power was a little lacking and he had dealt with some injury issues, but he was one of the few players that was actually playing better down the stretch.  

Scutaro had been acquired as one of multiple free agents prior to the 2010 season that were known for being good defensive players.  His signing was a little less high-profile than Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron.  Scutaro was a steady offensive player with a very good glove.  He was not flashy, but he was dependable.  Scutaro delivered on that reputation in 2010, hitting .275/.333/.423 with 11 home runs, 56 RBIs, and providing good defense at shortstop.

But it was 2011 when Scutaro really proved to be worth his contract.  Despite injuries limiting him to 113 games, Scutaro hit for a career high .299 batting average and walked more than he struck out.  He finished the season with a .299/.358/.423 line with seven home runs and 54 RBIs.  He also contributed 26 doubles.  

His overall numbers were not eye-popping, but during the second half of the season as the rest of the team was faltering, Scutaro was hitting .329/.382/.467.  He had 20 of his doubles in the second half and drove in 39 of his RBIs.  He was terrific in the second half.

Unfortunately, Boston traded Scutaro to the Rockies for Clayton Mortenson prior to the 2012 season, despite having already traded apparent heir Jed Lowrie to the Astros.  Scutaro was traded midseason to the Giants and again had a terrific second half, on his way to winning the NLCS MVP.  His 2012 season was even better than his 2011 season.  Meanwhile, Mike Aviles was playing shortstop for Boston.

John Valentin (1993) - He won the Silver Slugger in 1995, so that year does not qualify
Stephen Drew (2013)

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